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“Great Resort!”
Review of Hotel Riu Vallarta

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Hotel Riu Vallarta
Ranked #17 of 28 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 7, 2013

This was a fabulous resort. The staff were amazing. They worked so hard and long days and were always cheery and friendly. The food was also amazing, I have no idea why anybody would complain; In a week you would be hard pressed to eat everything. I would consider it a 3 or a 3.5 star or not a 5 as it's rated, but other than there being no non-smoking areas other than dining areas, I have no complaints at all. There was always a form of entertainment going on somewhere. Great for kids and families.

Room Tip: Ocean facing rooms are loud until 11 pm.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Canonball770
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,343 - 3,349 of 5,416 reviews

Reviewed April 6, 2013

After researching this resort for a while we finally booked it thru Signature. We arrived in Puerto Vallarta on the midnight express, landing at 2 am. Airport was fairly quite at this time with only 1 plane ahead of us. Once on the bus it was only a quick 15 minute ride to the hotel with no extra stops. Checked in at 3:15 am, Basically front desk handed out keys and sent us off to our rooms and told us to come in the morning to finish registering. Woke up later that morning and checked out the facilities. Riu Vallara had free WiFi in the lobby area for 90 consecutive minutes a day which was nice, it is not very fast but it is free. Front desk was very good at accommodating you with any problems you may have. A special thank you to Claudia for changing our room on the 2nd day. Rooms overlooking the courtyard can be noisy later at night, so if you are part of the party at night than get a room there. Rooms on the outside of the resort are much quieter.
Now for the food and drink. Breakfasts are great with a large variety of fruit, food and good bacon with 2 omelet stations to cook your eggs to your liking. Lots of choices for breakfast. Lunch was only served at the beach restaurant except on Saturday and Sunday when the resort was a little busier. Lots of choice of fish, chicken, pizza,fries, taco's, fruit and many other choices for lunch and soft ice cream. We had most of our suppers at the main buffet with lots to choose from and lots of flavored hard yummy ice cream. I must say that they have a poor way of booking a la cartes, having to stand in line every morning and only being able to book 2 days in advance. Lineups started at 7 am in the morning with booking started buy 8 am. By 9 am most of the a la cartes would be fully booked. We were there for 14 days, and did 5 a la carte's. The only one worth while to book as far as I am concerned is the gourmet restaurant Sir Georges. We had 2 fantastic meals there with great service, the last time with our new found friends Fred and Kim from Wisconsin. The waiters are short staffed and very busy at this resort so please help yourself. They really could use a lot more workers. I found this resort to be very clean. Drinks were good at this resort, but again help yourself as staff are very busy.
There are 2 pools at this resort, one being a adult pool with swim up bar. This bar was very busy, I think we were there during spring break and by 4pm and would be very loud around here. The other pool was a lot quieter, even with children it. Not sure if the pools were heated but they were warm enough for us in March.
Beach was large enough with trees in the back part for those that wanted shade. There are a few venders on the beach but a simple no thank you and they will leave you alone. The beach is very walkable and firm near the water. From the Vallarta you can walk about 4 miles to the south and about 2.5 miles to the north where you will hit the small town of Bucerias. On the beach near Bucerias you will find $20 -1 hour massages.The water activity center had lots of boogy boards to hand out as well as 4 kayaks and 2 Hobie Cats. A special thanks out to Giovanni my friend for booking sailboat times, he always tried his best to fit us in. One morning at 9 am we took the kayaks out to see dolphins. We managed to get within 30 feet of them as the leisurely swam along the shore line.
All and all I would recommend this resort but I would rate it a 4.5 star mostly because of the lack of service as the resort does not hire enough staff. The staff that are there are very hard working with a big smiles on there faces when you talk to them. Would come back again for the right price.

Room Tip: Rooms on the outside and higher are quieter.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank sasksodbuster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

Absolutely great for adults although a bit boring for teenagers. Elegant facility with superior, comfortable rooms, with great views of the ocean and over a luxurious pool area.

What impressed us most was the quality of the food. We enjoyed eating outside on a 2-story marble & pillar veranda each night that was associated with the buffet. The food was so good, and the atmosphere so pleasant that we only bothered to eat at one of thier fine indoor restaurants only once during our stay. The seafood was abundant and fresh!

Our 12 year olds were bored silly as there were no organized activiities and nothing to do in the evenings other than to hang around with the adults. We did walk down the beach on tow evenings to an adjoining Riu property which seemed to be better suited to younger people.

Back at Riu Vallerta, the adults were pampered and treated always with courtesy and a smile.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Steve R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

My husband and I were a little bit skeptical of this resort due to the mixed reviews we read before booking, mainly the cleanliness of rooms/resort and variety/quality of food. Operating under the idea that some folks just can't be pleased, we decided to book and - boy! - are we glad we did.

We had some issues with check-in (room was NOT ready at 3pm, but we were wristbanned and free to have lunch and check out the resort, so that was okay with us). We went up to our room and I'm not sure that it was fully "ready"-- tissue dispenser was empty, alarm clock was broken, TV was broken (not that we were there to watch TV or get anywhere on time but we do like to listen to music while having coffee or getting ready for dinner). Also, the full-length mirror that is typically in a hotel room was missing. So, minor things. But, not what we paid for. Went down to the front desk and no rooms were available, so we had to switch the next day. Ramon at the front desk was calm and polite and intent on helping us out. Beautiful views from the room!!!

The rooms DO smell musty... but you are in a very warm, very humid climate. Honestly, we barely used the A/C because that seemed to make it worse. Open your doorwall screen, pull the sheers closed, and turn on the ceiling fan and you will be better off. The breeze and fresh air was magnificent, could also hear the pianist and live bands, which was really nice!

The beds were hard when you sat on them, but for sleeping-- I thought they were pretty good. Just addressing others' reviews on the beds.

Things we loved: the grounds were amazingly beautiful and well-kept. Some of the building areas are a little run-down, but the place is very clean (including the public restroom areas). Kids kept to the kids' pool area and adults kept to the adults' pool area. I'm amazed at how clean the staff keeps everything, given the way SO MANY people run it ragged (more on that below).

The entertainment staff (specifically, Leo and Mr. Bombastic-- they are FAB!!!) are so funny, you really get to know them over a 6 day stay and they always have a smile and hola, HOLA!!! I thought it would be annoying, but really, they were a great addition to the overall experience.

You truly do need to be up early to make restaurant reservations. We ate in the Asian restaurant the first time, seriously... don't waste your time. The "gourmet" restaurant, Sir George or whatever-- the food and service were excellent. Did not try the steakhouse, so can't say. The Flamingo buffet was good in that it was not too busy, but it has less selection. The Don Rafael buffet is amazing. Wonderfully fresh salad bar and fruits, hot and fresh vegetable dishes, some traditional fare also, lots of fish and different meats. Different nights had different dinner features and that was fun, too.

Massage in the spa was the best I've ever had, the Renova combination. Amazing.

A few things I'd like to address that I read in prior reviews, which (as an American), I thought were completely ignorant:

-If I live in Ann Arbor and travel to San Francisco, that does not make me a "local". Therefore, when Americans are complaining about "locals" taking over the resort-- these are people that are traveling from all parts of Mexico, paying their good money too, to stay here. Stop referring to them as a nuisance. They are families trying to enjoy their vacation. Americans are never more apparently ignorant than when travelling to other countries, I swear. It's embarrassing to watch and listen to.

-I have to laugh at the reviews complaining about there being "nothing" to eat for kids. Um, hello, introduce your children to a fresh piece of fruit now and again. Kids of all ages were going up to the buffets, unaccomanied by a parent, only to fill a plate with French fries and either spill half of it on the floor for people to step on OR just stand there eating AT the buffet and being a complete nuisance to others just trying to have a nice meal. Mind your children!

Unrelated to the resort-- if you head a few miles down the beach, you will come across a little town called Bucaneras (sp?) where they have quaint shops, lovely cafes, friendly people, and very safe. Take the walk, it's worth it.

Room Tip: No real tips on a good room, the resort is in kind of a "U" shape and you can hear many th...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank CarrieP499
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Our family of five stayed at the Riu Vallarta for fivr days. We wish it could have been longer! When we made reservations we booked two rooms and asked for connecting rooms. They gave us 5071 and 5072. The rooms are on the same side of the hall way and each have their own door, but to make them connecting rooms thay have an additional door that you can close and lock to the hallway and then you can leave your doors open making it a two bedroom, two bath suite. It worked perfect for our family. One room had a king and the other room had two doubles pushed together. Our view was of the resort next door, the mountains, and if you looked to your right the Pacific Ocean. It was great to watch the sunrise over the mountains and at night time there was no noise from the courtyard. The beds were good as long as they had a topper on them. The food was good at Sir George and the buffet. Nirvana and the Steak house were so so. The view of the sunset at the steak house was awesome, just wish the food was better. We enjoyed the kid pool and the beach. We walked over to Jalisco and really enjoyed the feel there. The kids loved the swim up bar and it had a more relaxed vibe and made you relax a little bit more than our resort. We had lunch at the beach side restaurant and it was yummy! If we go back we might just stay there.

We did two tours while we were in PV. We did Vallarta Eats and Vallarta Adventures Extreme Zip Line Adventure. They were both so amazing! I left reviews for them.

My daughter and I watched the shows every night and they were very good! Her favorite was Casino night! It was crowded, so it was hard to find a sit close to the stage, but the view was good almost anywhere you sat. The staff there works super hard and they are always wanting to help you if you need it. We would tip them and they were thankful, but they didn't stand around and wait for a tip, it wasn't expected. We tipped one bar tender who was awesome and he left the pesos on the counter and finally after the third round he finally took them and thanked us very much. It was nice how he didn't expect a tip, he was just doing his job. Housekeeping was well and we felt very safe. The kids would leave their electronics out in the open and they were still there when we came back to the room.

We would stay here again! It is not a 5 star resort, but it is a great place to relax and recharge. I am thankful that we went here!

Room Tip: Rooms 5071 and 5072 are good if you need to have connecting rooms. Not a great view, but quieter if...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank smcfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

My family & I decided to go back to the Riu Vallarta again. We travelled March 13-20th. Just like last year, this place was wonderful. The people REALLY make this experience fantastic. I'm going to name several of them throughout my review & I suggest tipping them well. They deserve it, they work their butts off for you.

It started right at the reception desk with a wonderful young lady named Claudia. We arrived at about 11 am & during the shuttle ride to the resort, the tour guide told everyone that we probably wouldn't be able to check in until around 3 in the afternoon. Claudia saw that we were travelling with small children & I asked her if we could get a room as high up as possible. She not only got us a room on the 8th floor (8037), a cold drink for all 4 of us; but she called to get the room ready & got us in immediately. This helped a lot because we had been up since 2 am & we all needed lunch and a nap. We were able to unpack, have lunch & take a nap before most other travellers were able to check in. Thank you Claudia!! You ROCK!!

Both breakfast at Don Rafael and lunch at Flamingo buffets have a lot to offer. I kind of chuckle when I read reviews about the food/beverage rotation getting a little stale at the buffets. Wake up, you're at an all inclusive, not a resort that is known for its culinary prowess. Bottom line is the food is good and the variety is vast. You could eat a different plate of food every day if you desired, but I have a sneaking suspicion that being the creatures of habit we are; we tend to eat similar foods day in day out. That's my guess as to why some people complain about 'no variety'. There's plenty of options for both adults & children which is super important to us.

For breakfast, go see Yolanda. I wrote about her last year as well & my family was so happy to see that she's still there. She is absolutely wonderful. By the second or third day, she was pouring coffee & bringing juice for the kids almost before we sat down. It took her a minute, but she actually remembered us from last year. She's fabulous. For dinner, just like I wrote last year, the man to see is Juan Pac. When we walked in for dinner, we were heading to his area of the restaurant (again not knowing if he was still there a year later). Not only was he still there but he was almost more excited to see us than we were to see him. He ran up & gave my wife a huge hug, gave both of our kids hugs, gave me a hug, took pictures of us and with us. It was crazy, couldn't believe he remembered us from a year ago, but he did. It was almost like we never left. You'll love this guy. He took care of us all week whenever we went to the buffet for dinner. Even on nights we went to the ala carte dinners, we'd stop in to say Hola to Juan Pac. By the way, both Yoland & Juan Pac are really easy to find. Just go into the main buffet, Don Rafael, & go as far left as you can. They both have those stations. Please tip them well. Carlos the Maitre D' for dinner is also a really nice guy.

For lunches at the Flamingo, we also had a great server. I can't remember her name, but she works the lower outer level of the restaurant. She will get you whatever you need. One of the days they had a grill with a grillmaster going. The chicken was great & I actually thought the steak was better than the steak I had at the Steakhouse the night before. I tipped the grillmaster and kind of got the impression that that wasn't a real common thing to do by his reaction. I was hoping that I hadn't offended him by that gesture & thought he deserved it for manning a hot grill for 3 hours for thousands of hungry tourists. A very funny thing happened at lunch the next day. My oldest son was, as always, looking for pizza. There was pizza in the display case available. But, because he's only 7, he likes all three kinds of pizza: cheese, sausage & pepperoni. While I'm trying to convince him to give one of the options a try, the chef manning the pizza oven asks what my son is wants. I said either cheese or pepperoni if he had any. He immediately pulls out a full pepperoni pizza from the over & puts a slice on my kid's plate. Then he pulls out a full cheese pizza & puts a slice of that on his plate. I was floored that he did this. I looked up & he says to me "Amigo, you took care of me yesterday...I take care of you today". Just then, I realized that he was the grillmaster from the day before. I definitely think there's something to that whole karma thing!!

We mostly stayed at the kid's pool, which was much quieter than the adult pool due to the spring breakers & middle aged wanna be spring breakers. In fact, a lot of adults ended up at the kid's pool because they said it was much more peaceful around the kid's pool. Juvencio was the poolside server. He's awesome!! Take care of him & he'll definitely take care of you. My suggestion is to order 2 of whatever you want to drink as the glasses are on the small side.

There also was a really nice lady running the surf/snorkel/sail shop. I'm glad they got rid of that jerk from last year.

Overall the resort is very clean & people are cleaning constantly. The beds are hard, but after a long day in the sun, a few drinks and a good dinner you'll sleep just fine. Also, I did hear from some of the other tourists that they do have pillow tops for the beds if you want. Housekeeping will put them on for you. Tip housekeeping well. I forgot to write down our person's name, but we were room 8037, so if someone from Riu sees this I hope they can give her a raise.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank mfiskey55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2013

we were at this resort a week ago and found it to be very clean, food was good and the beach there is excellent. We were at the Jalisco last year and liked the rooms at this resort a lot better. the food at the Jalisco enjoyed just as much and it was nice to be able to go to that resort to eat. the staff do their best at the night shows and everyone, including the servers worked very hard! we would go again!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Mazda3
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

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
#9 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#12 Spa Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range: $181 - $282 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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