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“All the tips to a great hotel stay and adventure”
Review of Hotel Riu Vallarta

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Hotel Riu Vallarta
Ranked #17 of 27 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“All the tips to a great hotel stay and adventure”
Reviewed May 15, 2012

We stayed from may 3-10 2012. the hotel was very clean, the staff very friendly and the services great. The food was plentiful and they filter their water and make their own ice so u can safely have drinks with ice in it at the hotel. We were upgraded from the side of the hotel to the ocean view for FREE as it was low season and the hotel is at half capacity, much appreciated and was very romantic to sit on balcony and watch sunset and ocean. Seperate pools was great for kids and adults.

FOOD TIP: they have 3 "specialty" food buffets, NIRVANA an Asian food restaurant was very good compared to Vancouver canada and i recomment. The "Steak House" was poor to Canada and USA standards with only 2 steaks; ribeye and sirloin, that were thin and grissly and available at lunch. Steak is not their specialty in Mexico, fish is, so dont waste your time its not even close to the KEG and as you have to reserve in advance to go, dont waste your time. The "Gourmet" restaurant was good - vgood. The regular buffet for breakfast and supper was very good and more options than i have seen at other all inclusive hotels.

Our mini fridge always had Pepsi and refreshments and of course the alcohol dispenser with 4 types of alcohol in the room was good, but u can get the same at the pool for free.

The spa was amazing and i recommend this if u have a stressful job as this helped and you can have on the beach or inside, single or couple. I will do this the first day when i return again.

Romantic/fancy Food spots: Ask to goto La Palapa in the old part of the city, its very nice with tables on the beach and indoors. The food is more like you find in fancy places in Canada. Also Le Artisties is expensive (150.00$ CND) for two people, but well worth the money and meal in the city as well.

LIQUOR: they serve u many types of liquor but u get the No-name brand which i feel is wattered down, so ask by brand name "Absolute Vodka" to get the good strong stuff.

Transport: The drive to the city from the hotel was quick and not expensive and immediate.
Security: the hotel has a private beach where there are nobody haggling you to purchase gifts and u can leave valuables on your chair at the beach or pool. Also the road to the hotel is gated
with 24 hr security so nobody can get in unless u have your hotel braclet, very safe.

I want to return to this hotel again or other Riu hotels in mexico, i highly recommend this hotel and dont be afraid to ask for an upgrade after a day or two if its low season.

Entertainment: We didnt do much entertainment at the hotel as we either went into town or just relaxed outside until later in evening. We did meet many other people from our plane and made new friends, it was a small world in a good way.

Room Tip: The hotel is shaped like a C, so rooms on the outside are quieter as u cant hear the entertainment i...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank rustywhitford32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Northridge, California
Level Contributor
69 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2012

First off i want to give the Staff 5/5 stars. The 3/5 rating is going to be for the property and food.

So this will be my 3rd time staying at a RIU property while in Mexico, so please forgive me for the comparisons to other Riu resorts

Also, if you are worried about the recent news about safety...DON'T! its just as safe here as it is where you come from. We went into the are where those cruise ship tourist got robbed and we got back just fine. We walked around the city and the jungle areas...no problems! Just be smart when you travel, because it can happen any where, not just Mexico.

Here is the Break down:
Traveling with a party of 12, Late 20's early 30's, Couples & Friends, check in on Wednesday May 2nd , 4nights 5days.

Check in - Check in was a breeze because the hotel was pretty much deserted when we arrived. The front desk staff was friendly and accommodating. Drinks were at the ready when we arrived and bags were being loaded up before we got our room keys. You get the room key ( Can you make this thing any bigger? it's like a bathroom key from a gas station) , 2 towel cards (don't lose it $22 each if lost) a safe lock and your wrist band which they attach for you, pretty much the standard for all Riu's. One thing they did not get from me was a credit card for the room.

Lobby/Wifi- Lobby is spacious and there are a lot of places to just sit down and relax, there is a lobby bar within ear shot from the front desk. The area around the Lobby bar is non-smoking, good and/or bad depending on you. Most of the chairs and couches seem damp, but in an open air humid location what do you expect. Free Wifi? HA ! you get 90min free every 24 hours and good luck using Facetime or skype because they are using a bandwidth limiter. If you want additional Wifi you gotta pay.

Rooms- We got 6 rooms on the 5th floor (505?-506?)- The rooms are standard, 2 double beds pushed together or 1 king size bed. Mini fridge with soda, water and beer (Dos XX) and lets not forget the alcohol dispenser for the true drunk in you. The View of the courtyard, pools and ocean were pretty nice for no extra charge. Floor was a bit dirty, but the beds, bathroom and closets were clean. We got a towel elephant on our first day. With marble floors and thin walls choose your words carefully and keep it down...i've heard a few things while in the hallway. I usually leave $3usd per day for the maid. One couple in our group came back to there room only to find the door wide open. Nothing was taken, but the feeling alone that your room and all your belongings were in danger of being stolen can ruin your trip.

Dining- There are 5 dining locations on this property: Don Rafael (breakfast and dinner buffet), Flamingo (lunch buffet & Steakhouse at night), Nirvana(Asian Buffet dining), Sir George (Gormet dining) and the Sports Bar (24/7 dining). I hate to say it but the food in almost all the resurants was average or below average. The food at the buffets were so repetitive that you could go to the Riu In Cancun then to the Riu in Cabo and you will find the exact same food as the Riu Vallarta. You can even go back in time 4 years ago and the food selection would be the same. The flamingo buffet for Lunch was pretty good, nice views. The Asian restaurant was by far the worst food experience i have ever had at a Riu, they should just change that theme restaurant to something better , how about an authentic Mexican restaurant? Sir George was pretty good and the service is comparable high end restaurants. The sports bar is a joke, the cheese for the nacho's was cold 5/5 days, you have to heat it up in the microwave. Almost everything in the sports bar is NOT all inclusive.

Pool- there are 2 pools at this property the kiddie pool is to the right (if looking at the beach) and the adult pool is to the left. I like that the pools are separate and that adults don't have to worry about kids swimming up to the bar to order sodas. Compared to Cancun and Cabo these pools are small. The service at the swim up bar was pretty good, but like any bar you can be waiting for a while to get some drinks. here is a tip : you can bring your own cup and they can fill it up for you. I saw someone with a 72oz mug from AM-PM and they fill it up. Pools were clean , but seating in and out of the water is limited so get there early.

Renova Spa- we did not use the spa this time because we went to Las Caletas and got a massage there for half the price. A one hour massage at renova will cost you $50+PP , but if you walk out onto the beach and go left you will find massages for $85 for 2ppl & $75 2ppl. The farther you go the cheaper it is.

Bars- The Bars have great energy when you get a good bartender Like Hector, Vanessa & Tony...you guys are the best!!!!! There are 5 bars on property 1 in the pool, 2 in the main square and 2 on the lobby level. Service was pretty good at all bars.

Activities- we played beach volleyball, table tennis and just hung out on the beach. The kayaks and the catamaran are free to use, but the waves are just too rough. you have to go out early like 7am-10am. The activity team was always asking people to join them for some activity, good times.

Stores- don't buy unless you really really really need it. end of story.

Location- located north of the Harbor, just a $3usd taxi ride into town. The sand is soft and the waves are nice. The beach is never crowded and you can walk to the other hotels in the area via the beach. The location is also very safe, just in case you were wondering.

Overall
Bad- The food selection needs to be amp'd up to the next level. They have the same food variety from 4 years ago, which is pretty sad. Don't be afraid to add some spice to some dishes, were in Mexico !!!!! i didn't come here just for the food, but i didnt want burgers and fries and a generic version of taco bell. The pool was small and crowded and we were told by hotel staff that the hotel was half full.

Good- as always the Staff is what brings me back to Riu resorts.

Good- The staff at Riu Vallarta was once again Perfect. Riu staff are always happy to see you and always ready to make your stay more enjoyable. I feel like i am an advocate for tipping but every time i go on vacation i bring $150 for tipping. i know the gratuity is already added in your vacation package, but it's not for the hotel, it's for the great service you receive, it's for the personal service.You don't have to tip, but if you feel like you got great service, why not?

Room Tip: Rooms in the XX60 and above are closer to the Pool side elevator and rooms below that are closer to...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank RJAYR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mokena
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2012

We left 4-28-12 1nd returned 5-5-12, The only hang up we had was at check in. They were very nice...but very, very busy! It was a Mexico holiday week-end...It is what the USA calls Labor day! Once we got checked in everything else was great. They had l900 guests and on Monday 1000 of the guests left...so the resort went back to the best of everything. They were able to keep the buffets up to their usual high standards. Don't get me wrong...the food was still good on the week-end with that many ppeople but the problem was they could not keep up with that many guests invading the restaurants at peak times. We like a firm bed...we had no trouble sleeping...did not request the topper. The resort is beautiful and like the other reviews said...they are always cleaning. Had a great massage(actually 3) on the beach...if you leave the resort and go to the right...I would say about 3-4 resorts down you will find a massage tent that is beige with blueish sides.... You can get a i hour full body massage for $25.00. Just tell them that is all you want to spend for a masssage. Let me tell you...they were one of the best massages I ever had. Just imagine being so close to the ocean....listening to the water...and having someone massage your body...the lotion that they use also helps you get a great tan...and when you get up and have to leave...you can't wait to go back!!!! Back to the resort... Sir George was our favorite restaurant...the food was wonderful along the service. The steak house was also good. We didn't bother to go to the Asian restaurant. All in all I would definitely go back to this resort. We walked the beaches in both directions and I would say that we had the nicest sand...it did not have a lot of stones like other areas...but it is the ocean and with the high winds at times you never know what will wash up with the waves!

Room Tip: Ast for a corner ocean view jr.suite. You will end up with a larger balcony.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank andrea9939
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2012

I stayed from April 29-May 6th.

The Good:
-The adult pool and the kids pool are very separated. If you are going as a couple (like I was) then this is great. There are literally no kids in the adult pool.
-The beach and waves are beautiful. Boogie boarding was an absolutely blast.
-The entertainment staff/bartenders were very friendly.
-The resort is beautiful. It looks absolutely stunning inside and out.
-The Gourmet Restaurant was AMAZING. I am a very picky eater and found quite a few things that I would eat at all of the buffets, so that's a good sign,.
-The drinks were fine. I don't understand why people are complaining about weak drinks. I did tip sometimes so maybe that helped, but I did not find them weak at all.
-I met some GREAT people here. There were a lot of Canadians to mingle with.

The Bad:
-The place is completely filled with locals (most of whom have day passes). I am not saying that there is anything wrong with locals; however, most of them do not speak English. This made it very hard to communicate with other hotel guests, which is obviously a little bit of a downer. They also seem to not understand the concept of lines and were frequently quite rude.
-The walls are paper thin. Bring ear plugs. Even with ear plugs I still woke up from the sound of a baby crying in the next room almost every morning.
-The TVs are extremely old and very bad quality. I know that is a stupid thing to complain about, but I enjoy watching some TV at the end of the night and it was nearly impossible to watch on these crappy TVs.
-Considering most of the guests are locals many of the shows would be mostly in Spanish and I had no clue what was going on. They would speak some English occasionally, but generally not so much.
-The swim up bar was extremely busy and I was not able to get drinks from it without waiting for a long time.
-The beds are very hard.
-The rooms smell like mildew. I have very bad sinuses and had to sleep with the patio door open in order to not feel like crap in the morning.
-The elevators are very slow (the ones by the pool) I would recommend requesting a floor that you don't mind walking up or down from on occasion.
-The hotel charges $71 for an hour massage. Walk five minutes down the beach past the Jalisco to a little tent and they will charge you less than $25.

Overall, if you are getting a good deal on this vacation then definitely go for it. If you are a younger couple this resort is perfect. Although, do expect it to be quite busy and do not expect a 5 star.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank ANW22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2012

We visited the Riu Vallarta from April 20 to April 27, 2012. We had read somewhat mixed reviews about the resort on Trip Advisor, but we got a great flight/hotel package from Toronto so we decided it was worth a shot, as we were dying to get some fun and relaxation in after a busy first few months of 2012.

The hotel experience was great. We have been to both the West and East side of Mexico now, and quite frankly the West coast side just seems to be the spot for us. The Riu was a great place for our vacation.

We stayed in the basic/regular room, on the fourth floor, our room looked onto the courtyard which is where the nightly entertainment happens. There is a kids show at 8pm and then a more adult (but suitable for everyone) show at 9pm. The show is different each day of the week, some shows are mainly put on by the in house entertainment team, while others are bigger and have dancers that come in especially for the show (Grease, Michael Jackson, Broadway) while we were there. We really enjoyed all the shows!

The food was really good too. The buffet did a nice job switching some of the items each day so it never felt repetitive to us. We actually liked the buffet restaurant the best. We did go to the more fancy reservation restaurant once, and also to the steakhouse. Honestly the steakhouse was actually dissapointing... better food and service at the buffet!

The entertainment team is a really great thing about this resort. There is always something to do with them. We really liked Egar, Pepi, Polux and Adrian. My girlfriend even got the chance to try some salsa dancing with Pepi and Polux. They were always friendly and open to the guests at the resort. They work long hours... but the guests can't help but have a better time then by interacting with the members of the Entertainment team.

We definitely will stay at a Riu hotel again...because of our experience at the Riu Vallarta.

Noise in the courtyard is not nearly the big deal others make it up to be on this site... We also really enjoyed the fact that there were many Mexican families staying/vacationing here at the resort too... Gave it more of a feeling you were in a different country.

Room Tip: It would be way better to face the courtyard... that is where things are happening, and you can also...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Chris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2012

Went to the rui between April 27 through till May 4/12 Went with my husbands and kids and there girlfriends and boyfriends. It got busy on the weekend, alot of locals go there. The gym was not very good not enough equipment and some was not working well. I myself like to work out. The entertainment staff was great. All in all I would recommend this resort and i would go back in a heart beat. The weather was great everyday sunshine

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Amber839
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wallaceburg, Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 29, 2012

Just got back from a week at the Riu Vallarta, did not want to leave. The weather was in the 80's all week and no rain. Food at the buffet was good, but we really liked the steak house. We had a corner junior suite that overlooked the pool & the ocean, great view. We did not do much, we just wanted to chill out for the week and relax. The service we received was exellent, we had no complaints at all. We took a taxi into Puerto Vallarta to sight see, worth going to. One day we walked the beach to the town of Bucerias, it took us 1 hour to walk there but it was worth seeing also. Good flea market and you can barter with the vendors there, got some deals.

Room Tip: Try to get a corner jr. suite on the south side, it is quieter. We were in room 6068 great view.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank dtulp1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Vallarta

Property: Hotel Riu Vallarta
Address: Av de Los Cocoteros s/n | Lote Hotelero G, Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo Vallarta
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 Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#12 Spa Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Vallarta 3.5*
Number of rooms: 445
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* In Riviera Nayarit, overlooking the Pacific Ocean * Located on Playa de Flamingos beach, 2 km / 1.5 miles from Nuevo Vallarta * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 9-story building * 3 km / 1.86 miles from various shops * 13 km / 8 miles from the airport * 1 km / 0.62 miles from Flamingos Golf Club * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Vallarta Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
Riu Vallarta Nuevo

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