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ClubHotel Riu Jalisco
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1,822 - 1,827 of 4,733 reviews
Reviewed January 6, 2013

We spent two weeks and were married here in March 2012. It was overall, a very good experience for my husband and myself, along with our 26 wedding guests. There were, however, a few frustrations during our stay.

They give you a beach towel card, along with a fair warning when you check in, that if you lose the card or the towel, you'll be charged $20 at checkout. Unfortunately, our towels which were hung up in our bathroom, were missing after our suite was cleaned. So when you're done with your beach towel, remember to exchange it for the card and keep the card safe!

Another odd thing about the resort is that there are no clocks in the rooms. Normally, that wouldn't matter because I don't care what time it is when I'm on vacation, but because we were getting married, we had a few meetings and reservations to attend. I'd buy a cheap waterproof watch to bring with, just in case.

There's no room service at this resort. Didn't matter to me but if that's something you like or need, I'd keep it in mind.

And the last negative thing to report is that the majority of the rooms have an 'open concept' room/bathroom layout. The toilet is in it's own room but the shower and sink are open to the bed and sitting area. Not a big deal if you're traveling with your partner, but a few of our wedding guests that were rooming together were just friends or family members so that made it a little awkward.

And now the great things.. The service was awesome and friendly! The staff appeared to be working long hours but were always smiling and upbeat. The cleaning staff (aside from the towel incident) were great and we felt totally comfortable leaving our ipad and camera lying around in our room.

Every night there was a show on in the main stage area- I didn't watch a lot of them but I heard they were great.

The food was good. Lots of variety. The A la Carte restaurants were quite good but you need to book in advance for most of them.

The beach was awesome! The water is cloudy on the Pacific side of Mexico but the waves were terrific for boogey boarding. The boards for which, can be rented out for free at a water-sport shack on the beach.

With regards to the wedding, the Riu wedding coordinator was fantastic! She was there for every step of the way and spoke great english. In the months leading up to the trip she was very quick to respond to emails and provide information. The wedding location on the beach was very nice. La Botana was a nice reception dinner venue, overlooking the beach and sunset.

We traveled to Mexico from Vancouver via Sunwing. They had representatives at the airport, on the bus to the resort, then in the resort lobby, answering questions, feeding us beer, and helping guests book excursions. We booked an eight hour sailing trip for our whole group (28 ppl) and it was the highlight of the vacation. I would highly recommend it for a group!

Overall, an awesome and memorable vacation!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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4  Thank Heather O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

First things first, whenever you read a review you should have a little background on who is writing the review. Everyone is going to have a different opinion, and that’s okay, but some people need to learn to adjust their expectations when heading to Mexico and the Caribbean. Hotels and resorts are certainly going to differ from what you find in Canada or the USA. Star ratings are certainly perceived differently, and if you want something comparable to the Fairmont brand for example, you had better be prepared to spend more than what the typical sun vacation costs. I’m in my early thirties, my husband is in his early forties, we are professionals, and while we certainly don’t claim to be world travelers we have been to the following areas down south: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. This is just to provide some context for our review.

My husband and I traveled to the Riu Jalisco from December 22 to 28, 2012 from Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). We booked with Sunwing and paid just $985 with all fees/taxes per person to fly direct. For the week of Christmas, this was a very good price and we had a great time.

From the airport: It took us approximately 25 minutes to get to the resort from the airport. Be aware of the timeshare people at the airport; once past customs just keep walking until you get outside and see your tour company. One timeshare person even told us it was “mandatory” for us to stop and speak with him. We were forewarned on the plane to simply ignore the solicitors. We did this, and it was no problem.

Check-in: For some reason the resort did not have our reservation on file, but this did not become a big deal nor did it take an unreasonable amount of time to sort out. The front desk agent simply photocopied my Sunwing documentation, we were assigned a room, and off we went. I asked and the resort was at about 80% capacity.

Grounds: The grounds were nice, maintained well, kept clean, and was laid out nicely.

Rooms: We had a regular room, and this was typical of what you find down south. It was large enough, clean, was kept clean daily, and had a nice balcony that included a clothes drying rack. There was no bathtub. The décor was a bit dated, but that’s common from my experience. The mattresses are hard as a rock. I’m not kidding when I compare them to a piece of plywood. We notified the front desk and they had housekeeping come to our room and put mattress pads (foam) on each mattress. This was certainly an improvement, but keep in mind they were still very, very firm. Aside from the bed, the room was decent.

Hallways: The hallways can be noisy, as the sounds echo easily. Keep in mind this is not the fault of the resort, but instead is due to inconsiderate drunken guests, or children not minded by their parents. Often times when I am annoyed by something on vacation, it’s not the resort or staff, but other tourists that seem to lack common sense, respect, and decency.

Food: This is where people really need to adjust their expectations. When you are in a different country than your own, the menu and preparation will be different than what you are used to. Of all the places I have visited down south, this resort would be in the top 2 for variety and preparation. I ate a little bit of everything (including fresh fruit, salads, etc) and was fine. Sometimes food can get a bit repetitive, but I never went hungry. There was once or twice that I did not eat a piece of chicken or pork on my plate as I felt it was not cooked well enough, but that can happen at any buffet so just be diligent. We always prefer eating early when its buffet, as the food appears fresher and lines are not long. We did not try any “a la carte“restaurants as we were busy with excursions in the mornings any were not on the resort when you need to book.

Beach: We really enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and reading on the beach. The water is dark, and doesn’t afford any snorkeling. The sand is nice, but could be groomed better by the resort. It’s great that they are many trees at the beach that offer shade. Getting a lounger can be a bit of a task, so go early. As always there are merchants that walk the beach offering services (like hair braiding, massage) or products like souvenirs, but the people were extremely nice and respectful. If you politely said, “no thank you” they continued walking. For those that drink alcohol, you will need to get up and walk to the bar. (This is a non issue for me since I don’t drink, and even if I did I would have no problem getting off my behind and walking to the nearby bar).

Location: The resort is in a decent location along with many other resorts and condos. It was no problem to take public transit to downtown for about 16-20 pesos, and it takes about 45 mins. You can also take a cab for 110 pesos (for 2 people) to get to Vallarta Adventures if you have booked any tours (about 10 mins).

Excursions: We booked with the Sunwing rep for 3 different tours with Vallarta Adventures. We had a FANTASTIC time with Vallarta Adventures: they were priced well, had great staff, nicely planned tours, and we felt very safe. We did a whale watching photo expedition on a zodiac (and saw LOTS of humpback whales, a few of which swam up next to the boat and sprayed us); a day long tour that included snorkeling to Mahajuitas and a visit to a traditional fishing village called Yelepas; and an evening cruise to Los Caletas for a show called “Rhythms of the Night”, and a candlelit dinner on the beach. Well worth it!

Random points: There is free wifi in the lobby that you can use once every 24 hours for 90 consecutive minutes. We were on the third floor and could pick up the signal from our room. Yes, it is slow but is free. I don’t go on vacation to be on the net the while time, just to check in with family. There are nightly shows but we didn’t attend; you can hear it from your room though (not a huge deal). Yes, local people stay at the resort. They paid money to stay there just like everyone else. The local people were quiet and nice, many brought children and grandparents, and did not become drunken idiots like so many of the tourists. (Sorry if that sounds harsh, but those who drink to excess and become rowdy impact other people’s vacation and I find that disrespectful. Not saying you can’t have a good time, or that you must keep silent, but we’ve all been witness to people who need to take it down a few notches).

Overall: This is the least expensive trip we have ever taken, and we had a great time. Most of the staff were nice and helpful. There is lots to do and see in Puerto Vallarta, and I would recommend visiting this area. If you want supreme luxury, be prepared to pay over $2K per person somewhere else. This resort was just fine (great when considering the price) and I’m glad we went.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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16  Thank NursePosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

we were at riu jalisco about 4 years ago and i would have given it a 4 star back then. now unfortunately it has slid to a 2 star.

we had 3 groups coming from different places at different times for different lengths of time and this is a combination of

everyone's comments.

the good
-overall the people working there are nice and friendly
-price seemed reasonable, from the US (SFO) we paid about 2200 each for 12 days through christmas and new years
-room seemed to get cleaned well each day. nice towel art usually!
-beach area was pretty nice and clean and it seemed like there were enough lounge chairs for everyone. the water isn't very clear

though, so don't expect to snorkel. the waves get pretty big which is fun, especially if you grab a boogie board. (get them early

because they go quickly. but usually people keep them for a short period and return them. you only get an hour)
-the entertainment staff seem to keep fun things going on all the time.
-the michael jackson show was really good. some of the other shows were ok, but this one was a stand out. I was glad i got to see

it twice because I was there for almost 2 weeks.
-only 2 day early reservation for specialty hotels. I've been at other hotels where they let people reserve for their whole trip

which gives you significantly less chance of getting into them. this method seems to equal things out.

the bad
-no servers at the beach or at the pool, self-serve only
-fridge not replensished each day, want more water? you have to get it filled at the buffet
-kids in the main pool. the kids pool isn't very big or deep and there are't very many activities. its not a big deal to me but if

you were looking for some quiet time at the pool, you're probably best being on the beach.
-the food was a bit sub-par for resort food. the issue is that sometimes they had some great stuff, but when that great stuff was

gone, it was gone for good. they rarely had enough to make more.
-they had a new years party and dinner. but it seems like they sold event tickets because there were way more people than I had

ever seen during the count down. they had enough champagne and noisemakers but they didn't have enough bar space or staff and they

ran out of the "good" dinner stuff quickly.
-not enough bathrooms. if you're over by the big pool or near the volleyball court, you have to go across to the other side of the

complex to use a bathroom. in the buffet? you have to go up a floor to use a bathroom. at the sports bar, walk to the other side of the lobby to use a bathroom.
-only one place to get your towel and return it.
-sports equipment borrowing locations are only in certain places. want to play tennis, you have to go all the way to the front

desk. want to play ping pong by the pool, go all the way to the other side to the towel place to get a ball. don't forget, you

have to go back to return them.
-rooms had a smell of sewer during certain times of day (usually morning), but then magically went away the rest of the day. (we had 3 rooms, all of them had the same issue? maybe somethign about the 6th floor?)

neutral
-dated hotel, some things in the rooms and halls need repair
-old, small tv, minimal english channels (rained 3 days we were there so this became somewhat important)
-at midnight the whole main part of the hotel is made dark and the only place you can really hang out is the sports bar which is

freezing cold all day and all night
-internet not free, you get 90 minutes but once you start using it, it expires in 90minutes
-the specialty restaurants were ok. steakhouse and brazilian were at the top and about equal. asian wasn't great but better than

buffet. they call the mexican restaurant a speciality restaurant but usually it is just part of the buffet.
-we tried the airshooting cause we thought it was fun. it was fun, but the gun didn't have a front sight so it was nearly

impossible to hit anything.
-the sail boat requires a test and if you don't pass the test, you ahve to take a lesson. want to take the test? sorry, we're all

booked for lessons. when asked if we could take an "advanced" land lesson instead of on the water and book for the next day, they

said no cause the sailing guy wasn't there. if you want to sail, get there right in the morning, book around 12pm because thats

when the wind starts to pickup, get your lesson in and repeat each day.
-lots of vendors on the beach selling stuff. i wasn't particularly interested but many people said the deals were good and the

people aren't pushy.
-umbrellas for 10 pesos, the guy digs the hole and sets it up for you.

deal breakers
-only elevator is in the main section of the hotel, if you're on a top floor at the end of one of the wings, you'll be spending a

lot of time walking
-if you're drinking, bring money. as soon as the bars are slightly busy, they won't serve you unless you're tipping. be prepared

to drink a lot because the alcohol seems watered down. if you want to enjoy a blended drink, it won't be made to order if its a

pina colada or daquiri. and i think the mix is sugar free or just cheap. (didn't taste very good or fresh)

tips
-there are 2 sides of the buffet. the larger side is usually packed, go to the small side if you want a custom egg or something is

empty. (the small side is also the mexican restaurant)
-if you want to eat at a specialty restaurant, you've gotta be up early and register because they only allow you to reserve 2 days

in advance.
-don't be surprised to see lounge chairs with stuff on them and no people. it seems like most people get one at the pool for the

afternoon and one at the beach for the morning and keep them all day. unfortunately if you want one, you probably have to play the

same game. don't forget a table!
-want to go to bucerias? take a cab unless you're ready to walk. its about an hour each way on flat soft sand, or angled hard

sand.
-it's about a 30dollar (300 peso) ride into town in a cab. it takes about 40mins. the bus is 15pesos (1.50) takes about an hour. we didn't take the bus, but it seems like a reasonable way. ask the resort staff about where to get off, the best option would be to get off at the stop a few blocks from the malecon and walk instead of the 2 bus option. the cab will obviously just drop you off right at the malecon. (note, the cabs are usually all fixed price vs what we're used to in the USA/canada)
-they don't exchange US dollars at the hotel. bring canadian or pesos. that being said, they will let you pay for things in US dollars.

Room Tip: low levels, near the lobby if you have any walking issues
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank jpc204
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

This hotel is neither the best nor the worst resort I’ve stayed at. It is a bit busy (meaning you need to line up and wait for some things like food, booking restaurants, etc.), and it is not a place to be pampered at (you need to book restaurant reservations, get your own drinks at the beach, etc.), but it is a good quality hotel that is clean and maintained. Despite the large size of the hotel we had a very relaxing time and would return because of the quality of the beach, the weather, and the price we paid.
Beach—The beach is really good. The sand is soft, the beach and water are clean (no seaweed, and they have a guy removing litter), and there is plenty of shade. The waves were a little strong (perfect for body boarding), but the water was very shallow.
Food—The food was fresh and I was always able to find something that I could eat. However, the meats were quite greasy/oily. The buffets did sometimes run out of items (mainly side dishes) and sometimes they were replaced, other times not. The Brazilian restaurant is not to be missed.
Service—The front desk staff were the friendliest/most helpful that we have experienced at an all-inclusive. Angela at the Customer Service desk was a shining star. It takes a long time for servers to bring you drinks at the buffets and at the lobby bar (I think it is because they are understaffed or overwhelmed more so than bad service). This might be different if you’re a big tipper.
Clientele— People were well-behaved for the most part and it was not the zoo that some recent reviews mentioned (we went at Christmas-time and the hotel was at 75-90% capacity (according to the front desk staff) depending on the day during our stay). There was minimal rowdiness in the pool. Some nights there were revelers talking loudly (but this happens everywhere, so bring earplugs).
One last thing I will mention for anyone like us who is trying to decide between a hotel inside or outside of the town of Puerto Vallarta: the beach in P.V. did not look as nice as the one here and the atmosphere did not seem as relaxing (we took a cab into the city one day to look around). Although our first thought had been to stay in the town of P.V., we were very glad we stayed where we did.

Room Tip: Courtyard rooms have a nice view (full or partial ocean-view) but can be a bit noisy due to late-night revelers.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank PT_Duck06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

We stayed here from December 28/12 to January 4/13, one of their 3 busiest weeks of the year. The hotel is in need of updating. Rooms are dated, but clean, and lack privacy. Shower & sinks are open to the sleeping quarters which made things interesting with our 13 year old son staying in the room with my husband and I.

Be prepared not to get a lot of sleep here. Between screaming children, and really drunk people carousing the halls at all hours of the night, a full night sleep will be out of the question.

The food is typical buffet - neither really good, nor really bad. The biggest problem is long lines at meals, and when you finally do make it to a dish that you want a portion from, the dish is empty. I suspect this is due to the large size of the resort at approximately 1500-1600 persons, and maybe a lack of staff as well.

The location is great! Beach & pool areas are terrific. Get your lounge chairs early though since with most large resorts, chairs are tough to find after 10-11 am.

The resort is clean, clean, clean, and the staff is friendly and go out of their way to please...however, this can't make up for the things that it's lacking. We won't return to this resort.

  • Stayed: December 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank csblonde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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