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Hotel Riu Vallarta
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Reviewed February 25, 2007

My girlfriend and I booked a 5 night stay, Junior Suite, at the Riu Vallarta through Expedia.com back in November '06. I had been reading the reviews on this site, and was a little nervous about staying at this new hotel. It turns out I should have listened to my gut, and booked elsewhere! Many of the reviews said I should email the Riu Vallarta prior to arriving, in order to guarantee an Ocean View. I did this, and I received a response saying that all Junior Suites had an ocean view, and they were looking for forwad to welcoming us for our stay.

We showed up at the Riu Vallarta on February 15, 2007 at approximately 1:30pm. I knew that we would most likely have to wait until 3:00 to check in, but we gave it a shot. This is what i was greeted with. "Sir, we are overbooked so you must stay elsewhere" (in very broken english of course). Talk about ruining the vacation from the get go! While we stood at the front desk trying to work something out, other people were walking up to the desk to check in. During the time we were there, at least 3 groups were turned away and sent to other hotels, and one couple was allowed to check in. So, after hanging out, arguing, trying to get a hold of someone in charge, we decided not to let the Riu ruin our entire vacation, and went to the hotel that they had arranged for us. According to the Riu, it was a "5 star" hotel in Downtown Puerto Vallarta (about a 30 minute cab ride from the Riu).

In the cab we went (Riu paid for the ride) to our new hotel, The Crown Paradise Club in Puerto Vallarta. We pulled up to this "motel" looking place and just about fainted. Far from 5 stars, and definitely not on the same level as the Riu. I am not going to go into a review of the Crown Paradise here, but just know that if you like kids, or have any of your own, it would be a great resort to go to. When we arrived at the hotel, we saw about 30 bags with Apple Vacation tags on them. All of these people were relocated from the Riu Vallarta. Some had to stay for one night, many for their entire vacation. I will say that you have much better chance of keeping your reservation at the Riu if you go through Apple or one of the other companies who actually have a representative on site.

I've tried complaining to the Riu, to no avail. I've tried complaining to Expedia, and they can't even get anyone from the Riu Vallarta on the phone to speak with them. I am attempting to get a partial refund, due to the fact that we paid for the Riu, but were put in a "Children's Resort", which cost much less.

I hope this does not happen to anyone else, but be aware that it happened to at least 30 people on the day we were to check in.

Good Luck!

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank brianbuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2007

We (myself, my wife and another couple) stayed at the Riu Vallarta from Feb 21 - Feb25 and had an excellent experience. For the price this is the best vacation we have had. It doesn't even compare to our stay at the Ritz in St,. Thomas but it was 1/6th of the price.

After a trip to Cancun we thought we would never go back to Mexico, but this trip has changed our mind. PV/NV were great and the Riu Vallarta was excellent.

The food was good and the variety was supreme (excellent ice cream). If you expect to have a true 5 star dining experience your expectations are too high, but the quality was excellent when compared to standard all inclusive food.

The staff/employees were very helpful and accomodating and our room was spotless. Saul at the pool bar makes an excellent Mojito. I just can't say enough about the employees and the people in PV/NV (taxi dirvers, restuarant staff, etc...) they were extremely accomodating.

The only constructive criticism I can offer is:

1. Get a more diverse music selection for the pool bar (I heard Tom Petty and Bob Seager everyday).

2. Attempt to keep the poll as clean as possible.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled with friends
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6  Thank TheLitigator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2007

My husband and I just returned from the Riu Vallarta. We were on vacation with three other couples. Try to do this every year at this time and have stayed at many all-inclusives, including three other Riu's. ALL of them have been beautiful. They are pretty much styled the same with the mable/granite. Even the restaurants, etc were somewhat in the same places. I have no complaints with the facility itself. It was spotless. Our maid service was great and we got the usual towel art...we did have three days with NO towels. Not even a wash cloth. Usually took a phone call, and one day I sent my husband down to take them off the maid cart. Our minibar was only stocked once in the seven days were there, and had to stop at the main lobby and request it stocked. Really only wanted the soda and water. As you can tell, SERVICE was the area that was lacking. Compared with the other Riu's, this one was by far the worst. When we asked about certain items, like why the waitresses would pick up dirty glasses, but not bring you a drink, we were told "this is not a Riu Palace...." They were very pleasant, but I don't think they have enough staff....so the moral of every story is..you get what you pay for. Would we stay again? At a Riu certainly...but try the 5 star Riu Palaces...they are in a different class!!!

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled with friends
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3  Thank mollyWisconsin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2007

We just returned from the Riu Vallarta yesterday. We had a fabulous vacation! We were origionally scheduled to stay at the Riu Jalisco, but because they were overbooked, we were sent to their sister resort. We were all impressed! This is our second stay with the Riu and again were very happy.
The rooms were beautiful, clean and for the most part well appointed. We were short towels but with one phone call they delivered towels and soap to our room. Our rooms were always cleaned and stocked daily.
The staff was excellent. They could not do enough for our group. From the bartenders to the servers to the cleaning people, all were friendly and kind.
We loved the food! People who claim that it is repetative are simply impossible to make happy. Our only suggestion would be to stick to the buffet. The food is excellent as is the service. We made reservations one evening and were disappointed.
The resort is beautiful, the people are kind and the price is right!

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled with friends
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5  Thank szyhln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2007

We stayed from Feb 10 to 17th, and overall impressions were fantastic! Weather was ideal, hot and clear every day...drinks were plentiful. We tipped our chamber maid every day, anywhere between 3 and 5 US dollars (or peso equilvalent), and noticed a big difference in the quality cleanliness in the room when compared with people who didn't tip. We always had plenty of towels, some fashioned into shapes, and the room was SPOTLESS! Even a string of toilet paper fashioned into a rose! The hotel staff was always very pleasant and helpful, and the ones working the pool area were very entertaining, especially John, who was quick to remind people the the pool water "isn't cold, it's just FRESH". The pool water was a teeny bit cold, but given how hot the weather was, we found it very refreshing. We travelled without kids, but chose the "family" pool over the "adult only" pool, because it was less busy. We spoke with another childless couple that was told when they entered the hotel, that they couldn't use the family pool unless they travelled with children... we were never told that, and were NEVER asked to leave the pool area.

The food was good, but not outstanding for a 5 star. The lunch menu in the Flamingo was a little repetitious and sometimes the smell of grease in the pool area was hard to bear especially in the morning. The most frustrating thing was that there was only one restaurant you could eat dinner in (the Don Raphel) without a reservation, and you couldn't make reservations for any of the other restaurants by phone, they had to be in person. This meant getting up very early in the morning to get a reservation before they were fully booked, sometimes as early as 7:00 am... who wants to do that on vacation?? In addition, the other restaurants were either partial or full buffets also, and we didn't understand why reservations were necessary. Also, there was only one bar open during the day, by the adult pool, lines were always long, and it closed when the opened the "dinner" bar, so order your drinks in pairs, or triples! If you order a drink that has a virgin version (ie, chi chi, or caesar), make sure you stress "with alcohol", otherwise they will stiff you and give you a virgin drink... I think that's one way the hotel tries to recover $$.

Highly recommend taking a cab to PV, and skiping the bus, it's worth the extra expense, just for cleanliness and time.

On the whole, we would HIGHLY recommend the hotel, and may vist it again in the future!!

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank canucksweethearts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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