RIU SANTA FE
Apr 6 – 13
I stayed at the RIU Santa Fe with my friend Tara (another travel agent) earlier in April. Here are my thoughts:
I LOVED the RIU Santa Fe from the moment the sun rose the day after we arrived. It’s absolutely beautiful with a really “adobe” feel. The resort is massive though, so it’s not for people who have mobility issues. It seems that they have quite a few wheel chairs available, which were used quite often. There are four pools at building 7 which is the ocean front building as well as one sprawling pool near the other buildings. The pools are NOT HEATED. I’ve never really noticed that pools at other resorts were heated but in this case it was very noticeable that they were not. This was my #1 downfall of this hotel. I’m a pool person and felt like the pools were almost unusable. We were not the only guests that reacted this way. We saw lots of people stick a foot in and then decide it wasn’t worth it. Two of the ocean front infinity pools have swim up bars and there is also one in the large pool by the other buildings. There are lots of stools and table areas in the pools which would make these awesome party pools if you can get past the cold. There were still quite a few people in the pools enjoying this. There are Jacuzzis throughout the pools with the swim up bars but they are open into the pool. The jets are really strong. The main pool is where the activities team does all of their stuff so it can be quite noisy and hectic by there. I would recommend hanging out there at least once though; there were lots of really random things going on like pina coladas in pineapples or amazing ribs at this little stand by the pool. I had read reviews before I left about the lack of pool chairs. There were at least 500 chairs by the main pool and then probably more than that by the big pool in the middle of the resort. The resort operates with towel cards so it’s not really possible to reserve more than your one chair per person. It seemed to me that there were MORE than enough chairs; it just may be difficult to get a chair in the location you would like.
The hotel has a really great sized beach with lots of chairs available. There are a few umbrellas but not a lot and the sun is very hot. The water in front of the resort didn’t seem swimmable to me. Tara was walking alone the beach and was almost completely covered by a wave out of nowhere. If you walk down the beach to the right there are some areas that are a bit more manageable with swimming but it was still a bit too rough for me. The sand on the beach is course and soft so you sink quite deep with each step that you take. I didn’t find the vendors on the beach to be too aggressive at all.
We were upgraded to an “ocean view” room in building 7. The room was on the side of the building so the view was pretty restricted but it was still nice to be in building 7 which is closest to the beach and main pools. The room was clean and large with two double beds pushed together to make a king. Building 7 is known as a “party building” and it certainly would have been good to have more soundproofing with the doors. We did see some wear in our room, in particular in the bathroom where some repairs had been done but we didn’t mind. The air conditioner worked great. The balcony was massive in typical RIU style.
Building 7 itself is a bit of a maze when you first arrive. Since we arrived so late (our flight was delayed) there wasn’t a bellman to take us to our room after we checked in. It took us over 45 minutes to just find the room which was unfortunate when we were tired and carrying all of our bags. We found that we were acting as tour guides for lots of other guests throughout the week, helping them find the lobby, buffet, nightly entertainment and various other things from building 7. We didn’t mind, it was a nice way to meet new people.
To be honest I was most impressed with the buffet food. I found it to be really delicious and there was always a lot to choose from. The main buffet is HUGE in order to accommodate for all of the guests so things were doubled up, especially during breakfast. We visited the Mexican, Steakhouse and Asian a la cartes. We had no problems booking them at any time but the hotel was not at capacity. The a la carte food was best at the Asian but the Mexican was also worth a try for sure. I was extremely under impressed with the steakhouse but that’s always hit or miss.
We did a Luxury Sailing tour with Cabo Adventures. It is a half day sailing adventure which is really nice because it starts later in the morning and you get back to your hotel in time for supper. It included an excellent lunch with sushi, chicken Caesar salad, macaroni salad, chips and guacamole, and a few other things. It is an all you can drink cruise with some snorkeling, stand up paddle surfing or just enjoying the view. When it’s the right season there is potential to see whales, dolphins and other sea life. We saw a sea lion which was great. This is a REAL sail boat so it does tilt from side to side depending on the wind so people need to keep that in mind. We had an absolute blast.
We took the bus into town for some shopping and just to wander around. The bus picks up just outside the gate and takes you right into the down town area. It costs $11 pesos (just over a dollar). Downtown there are LOTS of night clubs and lots of little shops to shop at outside of the marina area. In the marina there is even more shopping and restaurants and things to see. Everything is very directed towards tourists. I found the pricing at the markets to be in line with pricing in Puerto Vallarta which was nice.
We booked a pub crawl for one evening because it seemed like the easiest way to “work” and see a few of the clubs in one night instead of going clubbing each night. There is a really great night club scene in Cabo! We had a blast at Pink Kitty and Mandala. Unfortunately I had a stomach flu and couldn’t make it through to Cabo Wabo which was our last stop. We ended up taking a taxi back to the hotel (cost around $120 pesos). The pub crawl was $40 which included your transportation, cover charge and a shot at each bar. There is beer and tequila on the bus as well. It’s an OK deal because it gives you cover into 4 bars as well as some drinks but all of the bars they took us to are within a block of each other so it’s not like you’re getting to take advantage of the drinks on the bus. They advertised themselves as the “safe” way to party which is a really great marketing tool but there was never a moment on the public bus, in taxis, at night in bars or during the day wandering around town that we felt unsafe at all. I honestly didn’t even have a moment where I considered that something would be unsafe except the one afternoon that we were downtown and wandered through the wrong exit from the marina onto a street with quite a few abandoned buildings. Even then, it was just sort of a feeling of “where are we exactly” more than a feeling of danger.
- It was REALLY cold at night. Always bring a sweater / jacket / pants. I really regretted not having more layers with me
- It is REALLY hot during the day. I think because it is so dry it feels even hotter. With the dryness and the wind off of the ocean you will burn more than you will in other hot destinations (or at least we did) so sunscreen is a MUST
- If it doesn’t say “RIU” on the bus don’t believe anyone about where the bus is taking you. We believed a nice man who spoke perfect English and the bus driver and ended up in San Jose Del Cabo (fairly far out of the way). We had to take another bus back to Cabo San Lucas then another one back to the RIU. The bus system is very easy though, just make sure it says your destination on the front.
- The RIU offers free wifi in the lobby for 90 minutes per person per day. The signal strength varies depending on the time of day. Android phones seemed to have trouble picking up their wifi but apple products worked just fine
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Located in the southern Baja California peninsula, 4.5 Km/2.8 Miles from Cabo San Lucas * Opened winter 2007/8 * 1-story main building and 3-story and 4-story annexes * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 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 ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Santa Fe Cabo San Lucas
- Riu Santa Fe Los Cabos
- Riu Sante Fe
- Hotel Riu Santa Fe Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos