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“Thanksgiving 2009 - Great stay!”
Review of Hotel Riu Santa Fe

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Hotel Riu Santa Fe
Ranked #42 of 71 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Reviewed October 20, 2010

Better late than never! We stayed at the RIU Santa Fe over Thanksgiving 2009. We had a great time and wished we were going back to Cabo this year!

Arrival at the airport: I was most worried about finding our transportation but it wasn't a big deal at all, it was easy. Once you get your luggage keep going past all everything until you get outside. If you prearranged transportation it will be outside...NOT inside not matter what anybody tells you. Even though I told my husband this he insisted we stop at a booth...that wasted a good 10 minutes before we could escape. My advice, keep moving! The people outside are nice and they will help you find the correct driver.

Arrival at resort: The drive down wasn't bad. I'd say 30-40ish minutes. The driver took the road by the ocean so it was nice to see the landscape. (On the way home they took the country route which was neat to see too.) We were handed a dirnk upon arrival, always nice on a hot day. Easy check-in. Had requested building 7 when we booked and recieved a room there no problem. They gave us some information at the lobby desk but to get our room key we had to check in at the reservation desk in building 7.

Room: Room was great - big bed, clean, nice decor, double sink bathroom...slippery tub though so becareful :) The room faced the RIU Palace. Didn't care that we didn't get a great view because we didn't spend a whole lot of time in the room. We had a minor problem upon arrival with the power. They didn't tell us that the main power was a switch on the wall by the bar. It has to be on for all the rest of the power to work. The room was made up everyday. We'd go down to the pool and by the time we got back in the afternoon the room was done. The closet was plenty big enough for a week stay. The safe was very easy to use, never had a problem. The balcony was nice to sit on with a drink.

Mini Bar: This was our only problem the entire stay. It was full upon arrival but didn't get filled again. We should have asked but we had access so so many drinks (alcohol and non-alcohol) that it didn't really matter that much. We always took a couple drinks back to the room with us.

Food: There was turkey on Thanksgiving at the main buffet! Even though we were away from home it was nice to have the traditional dinner :) My husband is a VERY picky eater and even he found something to eat the entire time we were there. At the main buffet "La Baja California" and the lunch buffet "Torote" there was always a lot to choose from and the food was constantly being refilled so there wasn't old crusty food sitting around. We tried 3 of the 4 a la carte restaraunts for dinner (husband doesn't like Asian food). We would make our reservations the day of or before. We didn't really care what time we got a reservation for because we weren't in a hurry or on a schedule. I can't say there was any one restaraunt that we liked better than the other. The food was unique...some we liked some we didn't but we figured let's give it a try. The steak restaurant (which is in the same area as the lunch buffet) and the Mexican restaurant "La Mision" were very beautiful at night. We had great tables at both, very romantic and relaxing.

The grounds: The resort was very well taken care of. People always cleaning and picking up after guests. The walk to the main building from building 7 was not that big of deal at all. The only way it would be a problem is if you had difficulty walking. Otherwise it was nice to take a short little walk. It was a little sad to see that there were at least 4 buildings closed due to the down economy.

The Bars/Alcohol: All bars were always pretty speedy even when there was a crowd. Drinks seemed strong enough...if ever we wanted more alcohol in a drink we just asked for an extra shot. We took Bubba Keg mugs with us to use by the pool...highly recommend getting something like this othewise you'll be going back to the bar A LOT. We also spent time at the Pavilion bars and the sports bar. Both were great. They would get pretty crowded after dinner so if you're looking for some entertainment there were always people to talk to there. Bartenders were always mixing up neat looking shots. They would also mix anything you asked for so if you don't see it on the menu just ask.

Pools: We never had a hard time finding chairs. We'd just leave our stuff (books, suntan lotion, etc.) at our chairs when we went back to the room or ate lunch...nobody ever bothered our stuff. Don't bother bringing towels it'll just take up space in your bag. Just use your towel card or exchange wet towels, easy. We spent most of our time at the beach side pool. It was nice to be able to swim and see the ocean.

Beach: The view was awesome! The only bummer is when too many cruise ships came in and blocked everything. We went down to the water on our last day to get one last look a the arch and a big ship was in the way...talk about disappointing! The water wasn't too rough when we were there but I still preferred the pool. The sand isn't a fine powdery sand it's a little more coarse. Every day vendors would set up just outside the roped off area. If you just say "no thanks" they'll leave you alone. We took walks on the beach several times and weren't bothered by anyone.

Weather: It was plenty hot enough! We would cool off in the pools several times a day. Bring suntan lotion, you'll need it!

Service: All the staff was great and very helpful when needed. They aim to please!

Excursions: We took a sunset cruise which was nice. We booked through our travel desk in the lobby and had no problem. If the tides had been right I would have rather took a trip to Lovers Beach but it wasn't possible. We took a taxi downtown (they got one for us in the lobby) and waited at the designated restaurant for our boat. ]

Pros: Right on the beach. Always easy to find a drink. Very well taken care of resort.

Cons: Mini bar wasn't refilled. The halls got noisy around 3a/4a when the bar crowd got back from the bars.

Overall: We had a great time! We would recommend this resort to people looking to kick back for a while. In retrospect we did wish we would have booked the RIU Palace. At the time of booking we didn't want to pay the extra $ but when we got there we could see the advantages of an older crowd. Since my husband and I aren't the type to stay up drinking all night we might have preferred a more low key resort. According to the RIU Palace reviews I read the crowd was older and a bit more stuffy. When we vacation we like to stick to ourselves so this wouldn't have been an issue. Plus we heard they had room service at the Palace...my husband loves room service. If we ever go back we might pony up the extra $ to try a new resort.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank kellij
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 19, 2010

We just returned from Cabo on this past Sunday and we stayed at the RIU. Overall I would say that it is a pretty nice resort. We had a couple of incidents with rooms that the Mgmt staff handled promptly and professionally. The rooms are nice, nothing too fancy but we didn't spend an extended amount of time in the room anyway with such beautiful weather so if you really want an upscale room this might not be the place for you. Overall they are decent though. We were in building 7 which is one of the closest to the pools and Ocean, but the furthest to get to the lobby, the restaurants etc..

Food was also pretty good, at times it didn't seem great - there are many things to choose from for most meals though you'll see the same things at all of the restaurants and buffets so you do get tired of some things if you have them multiple times. You have to make reservations for the restaurants on site, and you do that the morning of many times - my advice here is to do that around 7 am or so if you are up and out the door so that you don't get shut out - otherwise you might end up having the dinner buffet multiple times.
We thought that the restaurants ranked in this order
Italian
Steakhouse
Asian
Mexican

Also, desserts down there just don't seem to be the same as those back in the US, and generally they weren't too tasty. Some might enjoy them though, but my wife and I didn't like them overall.

The staff was very curteous and professional. Always cleaning, (the entire place - grounds included are very clean). We had some excellent service from 4 individuals in particular. One was named Floren and he is a young looking waiter that works the outside seating at breakfast. He was on it every morning, service was very good. I did tip him once during the latter part of the week and thanked him for everything.

Another was our bartender at the Tequila pool swim up bar - AMADO. He was AWESOME. Look him up for sure if you're there soon. He busted it all week long for everyone there, always asking us "is everything ok, and can I get you anything else?" I also tipped him pretty well, and he was very grateful and yes it did seem that we did get preferential treatment when then 500 other people standing there demanding drinks didn't give him a penny.. Personal choice I guess. But we did tip when we felt it was necessary and the staff was thankful for that.
FInally Alex and Rafael - they work for one of the adventure companies that are located in the lobby that set up ATVs, Ziplining etc- all of the activities. They were extremely helpful with us going over our activity options in full detail, answering any questions that we had - very patient and extremely helpful.

Overall we had a great time, weather was what we wanted- sunny, hot w/ temp in the upper 80's - low 90's. As others have posted you can swim in the ocean d/t strong undercurrents but we did go to a great beach Chileno Bay for the day and swam and did snorkeling and it was still a bit choppy but certianly much calmer there than outside of the resort.
We felt very safe at all times - but if you hit the beach past the roped off areas of the resort during the day the vendors will approach you so beware of that. Otherwise, this is a great place for a getaway at what we felt was a very decent price. My wife and I will be returning in 2011 for sure.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank JMHRunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2010

I would say overall this was a good experience at the RIU Santa Fe. Upon arrival, like many reviews state, walk right out of the airport and avoid the time share reps. One actually got me because he told me that I can not leave the airport without showing him my transportation. Once I did, his speal began and we simply walked away. The hotel is about a 30-40 minute ride from the airport. We have visited multiple parts of Mexico (Cancun, Maya Riviera, and Playa Mujeres) and I thought Cabo was breathtaking in terms of the landscape, water, and mountains.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a cold beer and check in was quick and painless. I really was not impressed with the service of the front desk and the unprofessionalism they showed. They did the hotel information speech to 3 parties. I asked them if I was in the same building as my sister and he said yes you are-never did he ask my sister’s name-how did he know?? I called the front desk for a few items like water-the response was the mini bar man has left for the day-so I couldn’t get water?

The hotel was gorgeous! Very big and spacious. Only one building has elevators so be careful if you require assistance when your pick your building. We were on the top floor of building three. They had a quiet pool and the main pool. The quiet pool was very quiet, no music playing in the back round so it could be kind of boring. We hung out mostly at the main pool. They had some entertainment there and you could participate if you wanted in silly games, sports activities, bingo etc. I do wish that they had servers throughout the pool area. We mostly chilled and hung out. Some of the members of our party did parasailing and jet skiing on the resort and they had a great time. They did haggle a bit with the prices and it worked, so make sure you try! We took one excursion and it was the catamaran snorkeling tour-it was 5 hours, open bar and took you to three places for snorkeling. It was a good time but people prone to sea sickness beware! The rooms were cleaned everyday and served their purpose, nothing to elaborate. They did have a liquor dispenser in the room but we poured a little vodka out and it definitely was very funky smelling so we passed. The mini bar did have beer, sodas, and water.

The alcohol at the resort was definitely watered down. If it wasn’t watered down, well, you would ask for Smirnoff or Bacardi, and they pour it out of a bottle labeled as such and I can tell you-it was not that liquor. We found that the sports bar was good for getting the “real deal”. Towards the middle of the trip we ventured to Walmart to get “good” booze. We went almost every night into Cabo and really had a good time at the bars, especially Squid Roe. The hotel is about 10 min away and the town and will take you for $3 a person.

The food was OK. The breakfast buffet had anything you could imagine and want for breakfast. Lunch buffet was OK but you found yourself eating the same thing. The good thing about the buffet was that it was opened until 5:30 so you could always grab a late lunch snack. Dinner buffet was OK to, large assortment of salads and numerous items to choose. The reservation system seemed almost impossible. We managed to get reservations for 2 restaurants our entire stay. We would go around 10AM and they would tell us things were full but to come back tomorrow, we would do that and things would be full. If possible they let you reserve restaurants for the day after. Although this system was annoying, it wasn’t important enough for me to get up at 6:30 to make these reservations like others did. We ate at the Italian restaurant and Mexican. Both were a nice break from the buffets.

Overall you do get what you paid for. For the group of 7 of us it was a great place and great location to the nightlife. Would I go back, yeah maybe if I was with a group.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ERCLADY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2010

This was the second time for us at this hotel. The first time we were there was in Sept. of 2009 and I have to say the second time around was even better.

The food is delicious, a great variety to satisfy every palate.

The drinks are good as well, the bar by the pool is a lot of fun.

The entertainment is not that great but if you go with a bunch of friends you will have fun anyway.

They could use some help with the club - Pacha, the place was empty every single night. Maybe get a better DJ?

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank BeachySd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2010

when staying here, I have never felt so welcomed and pampered! this Hotel was amazing from check-in to check-out. From the moment you step foot into this Hotel, you are greeted with a margarita or beer, and felt as if you have are truly a family member All inclusive resort with an exceptional staff. Meals were amongst the best I have ever had..each evening meal is a different theme or country style(mexico, italian, etc). you do have many choices when it comes to pools..your choices included 3 swim up bars, your own personal mini bar in your room, a sports bar, and drinks being served during your evening meals.
if you elect to leave the resort, you will have fees for taxi service, or trips planned by your tour guides.

Stayed: October 2010
Thank ovrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2010

The hotel was fantastic. Swim up bars, steps that lead to the beach, and several pools around the facility in case you were interested in partying or relaxing. They didnt offer wireless internet services throughout the grounds, only in the lobby which seems silly. The buffet food was surprisingly good, though the restaurants were not as good. The hotel itself is pretty far from the Marina and downtown area, but not unmanageable. The entertainment could use some work. All in all a very positive stay.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank IrishND20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2010

General comments:
Geared a bit towards younger crowd - while the bars in the pools close early (6pm), the party continues in the main courtyard - truly all you can eat and drink (including liquor). Beer (Dos Equis) provided in rooms, as well as Gin, Jose Cuervo Tequila, rum and vodka provided. Oddly family-friendly as well with stage shows geared for the little ones.


PROs
-Spectacular, stunningly beautiful scenery - especially from the infinity pools, but also the architecture of the hotel itself
-swim up bars (3!) with versitile bar tenders
-grounds immaculate, house keeping staff fantastic
-friendly, accomodating staff
-4 bottles of hard alcohol in room, refilled as needed (in theory)

CONs
-Lots of walking to get to rooms
-NO WIRELESS INTERNET IN ROOMS, spotty, slow connection in courtyard
-gate security annoyingly tight - not allowing pre-arranged guests to enter, or tour guides to enter on occassion
-annoyed when excursions booked through other company
-slow to restock water/pop/beer in fridges (even though they say they restock every 2 days)
-food a bit hit and miss - some good, some very very average (wine VERY VERY BAD - basically vinegar) - dessert not worth eating EVER - the mexican dishes were reasonable, most of our group hated the food - the Steak house was NOT GOOD, the Italian was decent (coconut ice cream there the only truly great dessert I found) and the Mexican was OK as well.
-restaurant reservations required by 6-7am for that night, if you wait til later, no reservations available even though restaurants often half empty
-spa prices a bit high (same as prices in Calgary, AB high-mid range spas)
-supposed to have king sized bed, but we got 2 doubles pushed together

There were truly mixed feelings from our group (we were here with 15 people for a wedding held off the resort) - for a no-fuss holiday were you do have to put up with a few annoyances, we'd recommend this hotel. If you are looking for the ultimate in luxury and great food and wine, this is not your resort.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with family
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Thank ShandartheBarbarian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Santa Fe

Address: Camino Viejo a San Jose | Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas 23410, 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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#22 Top resorts Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#27 Spa Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#30 On the Beach Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
Price Range: $189 - $312 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Santa Fe 3.5*
Number of rooms: 902
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

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