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“Great time at the Riu!” 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
Mexico
Level Contributor
105 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 283 helpful votes
“Great time at the Riu!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2007

We’ve just returned from a one week vacation at the Riu Vallarta (July 26 – August 2). I will try to make as objective a review as I can, pointing out the positive and the negatives I found during my stay.
Hotel and grounds: The hotel itself is big and imposing, but the grounds are manageable. It’s not a monster resort, so everything is within walking distance. The lobby is big and spacious and nicely decorated; it’s open air so it can get hot at times, if there’s not a breeze blowing. Everything is very clean, and there’s always a small army of workers cleaning and scrubbing.
The hotel is U-shaped and has 6 elevators, 4 at the bottom of the U (2 on each side of the lobby) and 2 (one each) at the top of the U. Suites and Jr. suites are at the top of the U, and all have a sea view. One thing I didn’t like is that none of the elevators goes to the very ground level, all of them go the Floor 0, but it’s not really the ground floor. This causes that only the elevators on the right hand side of the lobby can be used to access the grounds and the pools by wheelchair, by going to floor 0 and then using the ramps to go to the main plaza, exiting by the theatre.
We had a Jr. suite, and I really like the room design (I also got to see a regular room and the configuration is very similar). Once you enter the room, there’s a spacious hall (about 5 sq. meters) where the minibar, the liquor bottles and the closet are. To one side of the hall is the bathroom (with a Jacuzzi in the Jr. suites), double sinks, hair dryer, and toiletries. To the other side of the hall is the bedroom (we had a king size bed), and 2 steps down, a small sitting area, and then the balcony. The bed was firm, and we had no problem sleeping, since anyways I prefer a firm mattress. There’s plenty of storage room and the closet has a safe box, an ironing table and an iron. One thing to remember is that the balcony door has a sensor that switches off the AC of the door is not properly shut. The AC worked perfectly.
There are two pools, the children/activities pool, and the adult pool. I only went to the adult pool, and during my stay, the pool police was always on the watch for kids. This meant, that the adult pool was a truly adult pool, and no kids were ever there. The pool bar was good, and the bartenders were very funny. My balcony faced the adult pool, and every night it was cleaned and scrubbed. The water was always clean in the morning, which leads me to believe that some people just like to complain and are never satisfied.
There are lots and lots of loungers all around the pools and at the beach. The ones by the pools where always occupied by chair hogs who woke up really early to place towels and stuff to reserve the loungers, which is explicitly prohibited, but this was never enforced.
Restaurants and food: There are 4 restaurants. At 7 am “Don Rafael” serves full breakfast until 10:30 am or so, from then on, until 12 there’s continental breakfast at the “Flamingo Restaurant”. At 12 lunch starts at the Flamingo until about 5 pm. Then at 6:30 pm all the restaurants open for dinner until about 10 pm. Don Rafael is buffet dinner, while Nirvana (Asian), Flamingo (Steak house) and Sir George(gourmet) need reservations. Reservations have to be made on the morning you intend to have your dinner at the specialty restaurant. We went to Sir George’s (which was very good), and Nirvana (which I also liked). I didn’t try the Flamingo Steakhouse. However, for dinner I found that the buffet was most of the time more than adequate at Don Rafael’s. So basically there’s food somewhere in the hotel from 7 am until 10 pm. The sports bar has nachos, burgers, hotdogs, fruit 24 h a day, in case you get hungry between 10 pm and 7 am.
I read in some reports complaint that the hotel falsely advertises 24 h room service. This is not true, the hotel does not advertise or offers 24 h room service, in fact, the hotel does not have room service. What the hotel does offer is food 24 h a day, which it does, if you check the hour of restaurant operation. Again, I think some people like to complain too much.
Now about the food, I was pleasantly surprised about the food at the Riu Vallarta. I’ve been in countless all inclusive hotels and several cruises, and the food was good, not as bland and generic as in other hotels. There is so much food, at every meal, that if you go hungry it’s your fault, not the hotels. Then again, some people don’t seem to make good use of a buffet and cram their plates with every possible dish offered, and then they complain that “there was nothing to eat”. We never ate the same thing twice, and we couldn’t possibly try every choice offered, there was just so much, and some was pretty good too!
I never saw a fly in any of the restaurants, not even at the Flamingo at lunch, which is open air and right at the beach.
Staff: The staff in general is great, from the bartenders, the servers, the waiters, etc. My only complaint is with the staff at check in. When we arrived, they were overwhelmed; it was a bit of a chaos, there was no coordination and it took a while to get my room key. You get an actual key, a key to your safe box, and two towel cards. You have to return them all at check out. The day you check out you get a reminder in your room to take all of these down to the reception desk, otherwise you have to pay $20 USD for each towel and I think $50 for the safe box key.
Guests: During my stay the hotel guests were about 40% from Mexico, 40% from the US and Canada, some 10% from Central and South America (several countries judging from the accents, but most English Speaking people probably just thought they were Mexicans), and about 10% from Europe/Israel. Most people seemed to be having fun, just like we did, but nonetheless there were a couple of tourists who are just miserable and try to make others miserable as well (bartenders, waiters, etc.). Some reviews seem to complain about the number of “locals” at the hotel. Just a couple of comments, first of all, they are not “locals” since most of them go to PV from every corner of Mexico on holidays. Secondly, I really don’t see what the problem is, it makes for a culturally diverse atmosphere, and hey, it’s a free country, anyone who can afford to stay at the hotel can do so.
This is a family hotel, and there are kids, lots and lots of kids. They seemed to be having a great time, and it was fun to see kids from different countries playing together. A lot of the kids were under 5 years old, and there were many toddlers. If you don’t like kids, maybe you have to consider another hotel. I like kids, they don’t bother us, and they were fun to watch, especially at their mini disco at 8 pm.
Entertainment: Yes it’s cheesy, yes it amateurish, but you know what? With the right attitude it’s a lot of fun! It’s not like a Las Vegas show (but then if you want to see that, better go to LV), but the entertainment staff work really hard, and make everyone feel at home. The kids as always seemed to have a blast.
Overall I had a really good time; we relaxed, ate well, had fun, and met nice people. I would recommend this hotel to anybody; your vacation is what you make of it.

  • Liked — Everything in General
  • Disliked — The lack of elevators that go to the ground floor
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank El_Josu
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
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pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2007

Just returned from a stay at the Riu Vallarta, and consider it one of the best deals we could have found. The pools are big and roomy, plenty of loungers, and the beach is fantastic. Everything you read here about the food is true - typical all inclusive buffet fair. Don't expect to be impressed. Sir George's was the exception - very good dining. If you are going to book any type of activities, Vallarta Adventures seems to be the best company. We did the outdoor adventure and could not have been more pleased or had more fun.

The hotel is spotless and there are people constantly cleaning all day, every day. We had excellent service from housekeeping to concierge services.

Enjoy your stay!

  • Stayed July 2007
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank vacationsaregood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2007

I thought I would write this long detailed review but when it comes down to it I think my title pretty much covers it. Here are a few facts:

1. the food is pretty mediocre, not terrible, just not that great, if you like buffets then you will have plenty to eat
2. I can't stress this enough, the beds are HARD
3. the hallways are stone floored and concrete sided so sounds just rattles around in there and right into your room, take earplugs, if you don't like earplugs... stay somewhere else because there is nothing quite as nice as a child screaming down the hallway in the middle of the night to wake you up
4. this is a locals hotel, I'd say 60% of the guests are Mexican, nothing bad about this (I'm Mexican American) but they don't really interact with non-locals... there are two distinct groups at this hotel, Americans and Mexicans and nobody talks.
5. your room will smell really funny, like mildew, it's the tropics so stuff does not dry that well so it smells, I got used to it
6. all the restaurants are mediocre
7. the Shows are lame, they really were
8. it's HOT
9. the only place where air conditioning exists in this entire hotel is your room and the restaurants (and the sports bar but it sucks so it does not count), the ENTIRE hotel is open to the outside (lobby, bars, theatre). If you like AC stay somewhere else, after you eat dinner there is no where to get away from the heat
10. and last but most definitely not least, MOSQUITOES. If you don't like mosquitoes, or they really like you (they like me), then don't go to PV this time of year. I'm serious, don't. Mosquitoes are everywhere when the sun goes down, and I think I mentioned the entire hotel is open air... we found ourselves in the sports bar to get away and I also think I mentioned the sports bars sucked. no moonlit walks of beach unless you have Raid dripping off you from head to toe.

The hotel is pretty, the staff is ok, and the beach is really nice. The drinks are watered down and food is blah. PV is really nice and there are many things to do so my advice is go to PV but stay somewhere else. If you already have reservations here and compulsively reading reviews here hoping they will get better, they won't. Your vacation will be what you make of it, if you are OK with the above and are willing to relax and sit in the sun and have drinks brought to then you will be OK. Keep your expectations low.

  • Liked — the beach
  • Disliked — lack of AC and oh yeah the Mosquitoes
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank magicthedog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avon, Ohio
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2007

My husband & I and four other adult family members stayed at the Riu Vallarta from 7/21-7/28. All in all is was a good trip but not great. The hotel property is beautiful and staff works hard to keep it clean. As mentioned in other reviews....the hotel lobby is beautiful and spacious but no air conditioning. In the evening it is nice to sit in the lobby and have a drink at the bar....but it was very hot and muggy when we were there......so it was uncomfortably warm.

The rooms are nice....but if you have a room in the inner court of the hotel it is very noisey especially at night. When we were there... there were tons of mexican families staying at the resort and the children were up late at night and very noisey in the hall ways, etc.
The adult pool is very nice....but water is too warm and trying to keep the children out of the pool was difficult for the security staff. The pool bar with great and the staff was wonderful!
The beach is beautiful with plenty of lounge chairs. There are vendors on the beach but they are friendly and do not pester anyone.

My main complaint was that the food was average at best. Not a big variety.....everyday seemed pretty much the same. Lots of flies around some of the food. The Asian restaurant was my least favorite... it was a buffet with fair selections. I did enjoy Sir George the gourmet restaurant. The lamb chops were very good and the drinks were stronger The steak house was good too....I had rib steak prepared medium....so it was not tough and tasted great. Most of the food in the buffet was very bland.... nothing to write home about. I am not hard to please with food....so for the great price you get at this resort I probably shouldn't be complaining at all. :-) I agree with other reviewers that it is not fun getting up at 7a.m. to make dinner reservations and to get good pool seating with shade. We took turns in our group doing this job.

This resort is still quite a distance from downtown PV. It takes about 45min. and $18.00 to get into town by cab.

We went into Bucerias (fishing village) for dinner one night which was fun and the food and drinks were good. They also have little shops to buy some souveniers. From the hotel the taxi fare was $7.00 and it takes 10-15 min. to get there. Walking would take about 45min.

Speaking of souveniers...the Riu Vallarta has vendors set up tables in the center courtyard a few times per week selling their wares. Prices were fair and a decent selection to choose from.

Make sure you lock up valuables. Believe it or not....our married daughter had her mascara taken from her room. There were lots of different staff members entering our rooms at different times of the day.

Would I recommend this hotel??? For the price and the beauty of the property.....YES! The staff does work hard to keep everyone happy. It is difficult to please everyone and I'm sure there are problems where ever you stay.

My next vacation in Mexico will probably be to Cabo San Luca. We've been told that the Riu property there is excellent....so we'll look into it.

I hope this helps. I always appreciate the time it takes for reviewers on trip advisor. What a great service!

  • Liked — beautiful beach and sunsets
  • Disliked — food
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank OhioSuTee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2007

I went to this hotel with a group of 30-something girls for a three day weekend. First of all, you must know that the hotel had hardly any American visitors. The room was nice except the beds were hard as rocks...we all had back pain for days. They will tell you that its 24 hour room service, but it' s not. The food is awful...my friend found a hair in her food and lots of people at the resort were sick from eating there.
The drinks do not have alcohol in them unless you ask for it. The liquor is very cheap, by the way. The pool was so warm and pee-ridden. The bartender, David was awesome...the staff was all wonderful and accomodating.
The flamingo steak house was gross. We ended up ordering pizza every night. One guy at the pool called it an anorexic camp-where everyone loses weight from staying there-there is nothing to eat at the hotel.
There is no air in the hotel.The room air cond was never working-it was so hot and you could hardly sleep. The disco was fun, however...if you get drunk enough you can forget about the heat and the bad food.
Checking in and out was great and the worry free people were super!! I will never do all inclusive again, though!!! Not worth it!

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lisaleopard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth
1 review
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2007

Where do I start?

Let's see. The rooms. We were there in July and half of the time the air conditioning was out, so it was miserably hot in the hotel room. Also, the beds were so hard and uncomfortable that we all woke up with aching backs, so I called down and had 10 extra pillow delivered so that I could sleep on top of them. Other than that the rooms were acceptable.

The Food. Terrible, terrible, terrible. There is no room service as advertised, and the hotel's idea of 24 hour food consists of chips and guacamole, that is if you can find it.... Also the lunch buffet was bad, flies everywhere and the dinner restaurants served gray steaks. Yuk! Also there was a short and curly hair in my friend's breakfast omelette. Breakfast was the only half acceptable meal at the hotel, and on a scale of 1 -10, I give it a 4. Just very bad.

The Pool. Let's just say that every Mexican in Puerto Vallarta was there. The water was unusually warm, so we called it the "pee pool" it stunk and was generally disgusting. The bar at the pool smelled awful, too. Let's just say after the first day, I only went to the beach.

The Bar. This is ridiculous. You actually have to request alcohol in your adult beverages. And they don't wash the glasses.

The Food. Well, in the steak restaurant the meat was gray in color. The lunch buffet was covered in flies (outdoors) and was the same thing everyday, guacamole, chips, french fries, cold cuts, cheese, a hamburger-type of thing, hot dogs (gross). The other restaurants were no better. Breakfast is the only half acceptable meal, but my friend had a short and curly hair in her omelette. So after that we took a cab to the grocery store and ordered Domino's pizza to the hotel.

Checking out. Well, when you check in, you get towel cards for the pool and beach and a lock for the safe in your room. If you don't return the towel cards or leave the lock in the room when you check out, they charge you $50 for the lock and $20 for each towel card. Bad.

This place is for 18 year olds who don't care and just want to get to Mexico for cheap. It was so bad that I doubt that I will ever return to Puerto Vallarta, and will really consider going to Mexico again at all.

  • Liked — Nothing
  • Disliked — Everything
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank TexasCjhic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
norman, ok.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2007

We read the reviews from other people saying they got sick on the water, the food wasn't really good, don't believe them! Nirvana chinese buffet was mediocre but the rest of the restaurants in particular sir george and falmingos steakhouse were exceptional. Only problem was having to get up at 7;00 am. to make the reservations each day for each restaurant. Hopefully this will change. Rooms: a/c is tied into the patio door switch so make sure the patio door is closed. Also the beds are very hard so we requested 2 egg-crate pads to install on top of the mattress. My compliments to Hector in the martini bar from tuesday to thursday from 5-10 pm. Also David in the pool bar was entertaining and please bring along some tip money to compensate for some of the people who get very rude with the pool bar bartenders. all in all a very nice property, would stay at again, sincerely, mark in norman,oklahoma

  • Liked — freindliness of staff
  • Disliked — hard beds in rooms
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank havefunNorman_Ok_
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 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#11 Spa 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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