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“Great Vacation!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Vallarta

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Hotel Riu Vallarta
Ranked #15 of 27 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Katy, Texas
Level Contributor
155 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Great Vacation!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2014

Booked this with a package through Funjet. We added on the hotel transportation from the airport (Island Sun Experience). On the transportation… Just get a taxi (get fee before the trip). This was a joke. $130 for four round trip tickets. At the end of our trip, they never picked us up. We had to take a taxi back, which they paid for… Oh and… When you get through customs, just keep walking until you get outside. All of those people you see trying to flag you down are “time share” salesmen. DON’T STOP!!

The hotel… A nice looking hotel. Everything is “open air”, so no A/C in the lobby, hallways, elevators, the theater area and the Flamingo restaurant. If you cannot handle humidity, this will not be your place (actually all of Mexico, lol). We are from Houston, so we were good with it. Inside (Lobby/Theater) looks like the 1920’s or 30’s. Upon check-in, we were handed drinks. The bags were automatically taken to your room. The key to the room is an actual key. We had a minor problem getting in our room. When you insert the key and turn, sometimes it would turn freely without unlocking. You had to really work it to catch the latch just right. The room was nice. All tile everywhere. That does get a little annoying when you may have a little sand or dirt on your shoes… Then it’s in the room, etc… We had the “family” room, one king, one double. The balcony had two chairs and a table. The TV… Just in case you want to watch it, if you just used the channel button, it would only be a few Spanish channels. If you entered various numbers, you will find several cable channels, a few English speaking… The bar had a coffee maker and a fridge. The fridge was stocked with 6 regular Tecates, 3-4 very large bottles of water, 2-3 bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Club Soda and 7UP. They had 4 full size bottles (in a case) of tequila, gin, rum and vodka in a dispenser (one shot at a time). They are supposed to refill every other day. It did not happen. We asked to have it filled and it was taken care of that day. There is a safe in the room, plenty of towels and a shampoo dispenser in the shower. The beds were somewhat comfortable. It did help that they had a ceiling fan in the room. This may be coincidental, but after the first night, we tipped the housekeeper… That day, we received a towel animal in the room, along with some Hershey Kisses. That was really neat to find in our room and unexpected. This happened every day afterwards. On a side note… Whoever came to fill up our minibar stole two kisses that were on the bed with the towel animal. Really? Are you kidding? It wasn’t much, but it was the principle of the matter… That someone would come in our room to do a job and take something that wasn’t theirs. What else did they take or would they have taken more if I had left it out? We reported it as a “thought you should know” type thing. Later that day, the housekeeper came by and gave us 4 more. She was sweet, but that was not what we were looking for. Overall, very quiet where we were (middle of the hall).

The pool… You get towel cards when you check in. Don’t lose them, it will cost you $20+US to replace. You use these to get towels down by the pool. You can keep them overnight, etc… As long as you have your cards when you check out. The adult pool was fun. The kids pool was crowded. We have a 12 and 16 year old and the really didn’t want to hang out at the kiddie pool. They stayed with us (they didn’t act like kids… Just sat in the pool)… I only saw them move a few “young” kids out for acting like kids. Of course some of the adults were acting worse… The bar there… If you are a guy or older couple, it’s hard to get drinks consistently, tips or not. If you were a female or in your 20’s, you got it made. Most of the time, I had to get my drinks.

The buffet was good, had a huge assortment of all kinds of food. They serve Dos Equis, wine and sodas in that area. This place serves breakfast, lunch and dinner… The Flamingo, Nirvana and Sir George need reservations. Don’t bother with the Flamingo. The steak was terrible and just wasn’t worth the effort. It’s on the beach and you have to dress nice. Men can wear shorts (even though it does not say), just a nice shirt will do. Didn’t try the Nirvana. Sir George was the best. If you make reservations, try to get there as much as you can. The food was very good. The place was booked two days in advance. You do have to dress nice there. Well worth it!!!

Drinks… All drinks are included. Go to any bar and order whatever you want. Everything was good and never got sick with the “rot gut” type alcohol. All seemed very good. Yes… You can drink the water there. All water served in the hotel was good to drink. Just don’t drink the tap/shower water. The ice from the ice machine was good as well.

Entertainment… It was ok. Some of it was good; some of it was just ok. The Michael Jackson show was very good. They did a good job with make-up and he had the moves like Michael. Looked good from our seat, 40 yards away.

Beach… You are right on the water. We rented (included) body boards (one hour at a time). You can use all of their non-motorized toys. They did have servers at the beach, getting you drinks. Only a few vendors came by, but never harassing. This is a beautiful area on the beach, looking out onto the bay, sunset right over the mountains to your left.

Staff… The staff you saw at the pool in the morning may be the same at lunch and at dinner. It seems they are there all day, wearing 2-4 different uniforms. Some seemed to work very hard for their pay. Tip when you can… Pesos only (Pesos everywhere)! We had great service, but got even better when you throw down 20-50 pesos.

For the money, we couldn’t beat it. For the price, we’ll be back!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank wmld3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,411)
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English first
Wentzville, Missouri
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2014

Pros: Food, Activities, Overall condition of the hotel. Beach is great for floating.

Cons: Staff overall was very average. Somewhat helpful, not overly friendly, but not rude.

Took three Tripadvisor Great Service Pins. We gave out two to the following:

Towel lady. Most of the employees at a resort like this must hate being there. Not our towel Lady. Smiling all the time and very friendly.

Main dining hall had the same server every nite. Great guy....almost yelled at me for making my own drink one time. I will get that for you Sir. Thanks for making it special. Great Guy!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RFJR1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoke
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2014

We returned from Riu Vallarta a couple of weeks ago, it was painful to leave even after a two week stretch, which is a rarity for us, but a testament to what great relaxing holiday we had.

The food was excellent, a massive choice for all tastes, the Mexican food was superb, so good we didn't bother with booking all the speciality joints. Service was brilliant too, and reports of Mexican guests shouting orders in Spanish over queueing guests heads in the bars are exaggerated especially at the lobby bar where anyone doing so was ignored and served in turn. The pool bar staff worked their socks off too sometimes in crazy conditions.

The Animation team were top notch, hard working and superb fun, 5*'s

The room was clean and spacious, the A/C wasn't brilliant but the ceiling fan made up for that.

Special thanks from us though must go to the staff that look after the bar in the hotel lobby area, especially to Victor and Roy, who were fair, friendly, courteous and constantly had us in stitches with their antics. Crazy cocktails, comedy gags, juggling you name it, it all happened there at the night time session. Without a doubt those two guys in particular really made our holiday and left lasting memories. Guys if you two are reading this, I will say this "chicken, chicken, emergencia" for anyone else, strike that remark from the memory.

Yes, there were one or two hiccups with the hotel generally over the two weeks, but in fairness to the hotel, they were dealt with quickly and severely if necessary. Two "streakers" arrested and kicked out on the spot. Drunks in rooms warned and threatened with the same if they did not settle down. I agree with some of the comments about drunkenness by the pool bar, it didn't happen every day, but generally when it did, you could bet that it was young American/Mexican guests, probably due to the change in alcohol laws from what they are used to at home. That said, it was noise only and no trouble really so we just filtered it out, after all when is a pool bar ever quiet at an all inclusive hotel.

People moaning about birds in the outside eating areas need to have a little think, IT'S OUTSIDE, that's where the birdies live, the hotel did what they could. I actually stood and watched these birds several times, I kid you not, standing by a door until it was opened, running in, and doing exactly the same to get out, it's astonishing to watch. That was at the main eating hall too.

My only real gripe is about the wifi, the ridiculous 90 minute rule needs sorting, free wifi is free advertising for you sort it, plus while you are at it sort out the speed too. 60 minutes at times to upload a photo to Facebook.

Overall though, for value for money I cannot fault this place, we had a fabulous time, well done all.

Cheers

Phil & Rach

Room Tip: Ask for a quiet room on the top floor for the best peace and views
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank filrd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
100 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2014

We booked this trip through Funjet and were VERY disappointed. This hotel is older and in need of much work. We knew we were booking middle of the road and thus expected that level. We could not have been more shocked. Bear with me and my long review but I would love to save others the stress and disappointment (there's that word again!) that we had on our 1st BIG family vacation. First check in was ok, no drink handed to us or anything special, staff was to the point, not overly friendly. We got to our rooms and sat on the hardest beds imaginable. Not kinda uncomfortable, I mean HARD as a rock. You sit on the bed and it doesn't go down with your body weight. The pillows were thin and flimsy. The look and layout of our room was ok, however our friends got the two doubles and they were pushed together to make a large bed. This was very bizarre for them and their 11 year old daughter. This information was also not made aware to them when they booked. We just happened to get a king and a twin bed thankfully. We booked a meal at one of their restaurants, The Flamingo. It was truly the worst cut of meat I've had. It took 46 min for us to get drinks and to be waited on. By drinks I mean water,if you wanted a cocktail you had to walk out of the restaurant and over to the outside bar. The staff tried their best but the service was very bad and the food was even worse. To make a long story short after 3 nights, and with 4 more left of our vacation, we asked about switching to the Vallarta Jalisco down the road. We walked the beach to check it out, and it seemed very nice. The staff was not helpful at all in doing this and tried for a day to talk us out of it. Finally after the 4th night we could NOT take any more. Our backs were shot and we were very disappointed with our vacation. They finally agreed to switch us while telling us that Jalisco is a much lower hotel. Our two families lugged our luggage (the Vallarta hotel would not provide service for us) down the beach to the Jalisco and it was so worth it. I will never stay at a RIU again but the Jalisco was 100% better. Upon check in we were handed a drink! The staff was friendly and helpful! The beds were PILLOW TOP beautiful beds with big fluffy pillows. Loved that! The hotel was newer, cleaner and the staff was let me say again - FRIENDLY! The rooms were bigger and the bathroom was much bigger with a beautiful walk in shower. Every night there was lots of quality entertainment which Vallarta did not have. The drinks were even better at Jalisco too. Jalisco also had 2 buffet options while Vallarta had one. The whole time being told that Jalisco was a lower level hotel and that we would not like it. RIU Vallarta was such a bad experience and I would only send people there I truly disliked, :)

Room Tip: A good room will NOT be found here
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank twilightmom4sure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burton upon Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2014

Stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks from 26th June to 11th July 2014, it's the third Riu hotel we have stayed in. It was a short journey from the airport. Check in was very quick and well organised. Hotel was kept clean and tidy throughout the 2 weeks. Rooms were cleaned daily. There was one main restaurant and 3 restaurants that required reservations. The Sir George Restaurant required men to wear long trousers but shorts could be worn in the other two. Two pools, adult and children. The beach was nice but there was a lot of seaweed. Not a lot of shade on the beach, you could have a parasol but there was a charge for this. Only went on one trip and was told that you had to make your own way to the Marina which is the main pick point, this was not made clear in the information given to us by holiday Rep. All hotel staff were courteous to us. Bar staff work very hard. Due to the layout of the hotel noise traveled from the main theater and could be heard in the bedrooms. We didn't find the evening entertainment very good. But could not fault the day time entertainment. Overall a good holiday

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Jackie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chilliwack, Canada
Level Contributor
150 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2014

Fairly short bus ride from the airport and I would suggest a car rental due to the hotels location if you plan on any tourist stuff. Easy pool access with plenty of chairs at the pool and beach. Several bars with the sports bar our favourite ,try their morning coffee. There is limited free WIFI in the lobby but there is a pay daily for weekly program with access everywhere in the hotel and pool area.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rodnglo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2014

We stayed in this hotel from 12th June to 26th June 2014, We would not return. On first appearance all seems well, check in was very swift which was a bonus. We had a junior suite which was just ok. Plenty of room but in need of decor update. Room was cleaned daily but not up to a good standard. The adult pool was a complete nightmare, we only spent 2 afternoons there, other guests were just too drunk, too loud & encouraged very much by the silly childish & sometimes unacceptable pool games. The pool bar staff were slow & rude unless you tipped them $20 everytime you wanted a drink!!! With the exception on Toni, he was very nice & treated us very well without a tip everytime.We had very little sleep due to the layout of the rooms and the unruly guests who had no consideration for guets who may of been sleeping. Rooms very noisy, there was no night security that we saw to quiten revellers and this happened every night at different times during the night for the whole 2 week stay!! Food was ok except for the Steak House, very below par compared to the Riu Yucatan on the caribbean side. We were also misled on booking this trip, we were told there were plenty of shops and bars but there were none!! Nearest town 45 minute taxi ride away!! We did 2 trips, Yelapa & Rythum of the Nights. We were not told that we had to make our own way to the Marina so another 4 taxi rides, no transport provided by Thomson, we were not told this until after we had booked and paid!! Take mozzi spray if you do the Rythum of the Nights trip.

Room Tip: We had room 7036 it had a lovely view but was very noisy!!
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank STOKIEBRIT
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
#11 Spa Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#15 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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