We stopped at the RIU Tequila from 18th April 2012 for 2 weeks and it was fantastic! lets start from the beginning.
We booked the holiday with Thomson and therefore the flights were Thomson. You actually fly on a First Choice 767 from Manchester which, has seats in the 2, 3, 2 configuration. This means it is not so cramped. My husband is 6'2" and always struggle on the planes but, he had lots of room and didn't moan ! Please, don't bother with the premier upgrade. I had a sneak peak and other then purple ambient lighting and a bigger TV, it's all the same. You don't get anymore legroom well, certainly from what I could see and for the cost! The only problem we had was being sat at the side of the toilets as no one could open the toilet door! Really guys, how hard is it to push the door rather then pulling on the ash tray!? The flight was 10 and a half hours but, was fine. The food was ok and the kids meals are better then adult meals. The only grip I have is paying £5 each way to upgrade the TV. Why? It should all be part of the service. This is the only moan, I promise!
When you arrive at Mexico, there is slight confusion about which baggage conveyer your luggage will come off at. Be patient as it will take some time. You then go through two lots of checks. Similar to when you visit the US. The airport is very modern. Once you have collected your luggage, you make your way into the hot weather. You will get asked if you want your luggage carrying. They're not pushy but, don't bother. There are lots of reps on hand so don't worry. Also don't listen to the men that say that they are from the federal office and need to speak to you, they aren't who they say they are!!!!
It's 1 hour transfer to Playacar, Playa del Carmen and our transfer rep was brill. His English name was Brad Pitt so, if you get him, you're onto a winner! As you set off you will be offered a freezing cold Corona on the bus; it's a must! It will cost you either, £2 or $40 (Mexican Peso). (tip:- if you're unsure if it is a US dollar $ or a Mexican Peso; also a $ sign; easy way is this. If its Dollars the S will have 2 vertical lines. The Peso has on 1 vertical line through the S)
On arrival to the RIU Tequila you will get off the bus and all your luggage will be taken off for you. Wait until its all off. Go and get your welcome pack which, will have stickers inside with your room no. On. Stick these on your luggage and leave it. They will be taken to your room for you; don't panic! When they arrive, tip the staff. $40 Peso is the least really.
The rooms are lovely with full air conditioning and two kingsize beds. Ideal if you're married!? We where travelling with our 3 year old son so, there was enough space for all of us. There is no bath, sorry but, the shower is lovely. There is also a hairdryer. In the room is 4 bottles of spirits. vodka, two types of Rum and tequilla. There is a fridge which is stocked up ever two days. You will have 4 bottles of XX lager, 4 bottles of fizzy drink including Pepsi; a can of soda water and a can of tonic. Don't be surprised if this is not right on your arrival as the people in the room before your arrival may have taken all the drinks!
The rooms are in two floor blocks. 4 on the top and 4 on the bottom floor. They can be a little noisy at night so, when you arrive back at what ever time, try not to slam the doors as it carries!
The accommodation is set in lovely settings which are all fairly close to the pools and reception/dining area. There are 4 restaurant's at the Tequila; main eating area, steak house, Chinese ( make sure you try the fried ice cream that is bought to your table! Its delicious) and Mexican. We didn't eat at the Mexican as we were told there was nothing different at this restaurant then what you could get in the main restaurant. We were also told, due to it being close to the beach (5 min walk) that there were lots of mosquitos! The food in all was fantastic, and I mean fantastic! I can not see what people are moaning about with the food! There was burger and chips if you wanted them and you don't eat anything else! There was so much to choose from that often, you would not try all of it at all! There was ice cream, cake, fresh fruit. For the English, there was full English although, the sausages were Frankfurt type. Trust me, there was everything you could think of! We did not bother trying any of the other RIU hotels as the food was that good!
There are two pools and a very small kids pool where the kids club is. In the centre of the two pools is the steak house and where you get snacks and dinner in the day. Again, the food was brill! They even served burgers from a BBQ at the side of the pool! Anyway, back to the pools. One of the pools is where the swim up bar is. It opens at 10:30am and serves everything and anything you want. It has most of the name brands if that's what you want. There is a cocktail list, they are all a must! Mojito and strawberry daiquiri! The beer is fine too! The other pool is a similar size and is where the Animation team did all the water sports. The pool bar can get very loud throughout the day. Whilst we were their, there was a group of students believed to be Spanish who got a bit carried away!! They were very lairy and loud and were removed from the hotel due to their behaviour. There was also enough sun loungers for everyone.
During the day, there are all sorts of activities arranged by the fantastic RIU Animation team. These all started from from 10:30 and included volleyball, water polo, darts and shooting to mention a few. They also have a kids club for over 4's so, our son didn't attend. You can still use the facilities at the kids club if you go with them. During the Evening, there is a kids disco which starts at 8:15pm. This is run by the animation team and there are dances and competitions where the children can win caps, bumbags and t-shirts. Once every week, there is a piñata where the kids hit it on the stage and collect the sweets. They even did an adult one. From all the team, our son got attatched to Josh and Kenny. They were both lovely!!! They also put a show on every night. We enjoyed the shows and also the casino nights! You don't use your own money neither, you have Riu money to play with and you win prizes. There was something for everyone and all entertainment finished around 1030pm. Just in time for the adults only disco that was on site. This was used by all residents of the other Riu hotels as they didn't have a disco on site. That was open till 2am. We never went as we had our son but, others said it was brilliant! You can also get pizza for your walk home from the Sports Bar, but watch the Coytis!! They will chase you for food....
There is a shop inside the reception. This is very expensive. There is a couple of little gift shops just outside of the hotel and to the left. 2 minutes walk at the most. There is also a Starbucks and a couple of cash machines. There is also a Drugs and Deli shop. My husband came down with an ear infection and the Riu doctor would only talk to him if he paid an upfront cost of US$110 (£75) plus any prescription. He is based at RIU YUCATAN. This is just across the road. Call out to the Tequila was another US $20 on top of the US $110. Another guest explained that you could buy anti biotics at the drugs and deli shop, which we did!!! 60 Amoxicillin was £8 so, better option! £75 better off too!
The walk down to the beach was lovely. Nice 5 minutes and lots of wildlife (iguanas, Coytis, squirrels etc) to see. There is also a little cart that goes up and down every 5 mins but, not between 1-3. Fits around 8 people on. The beach was lovely and clean and the guys down there work very hard. Again there was enough sun loungers for everyone. Sit near to the Riu Yucatan as its their bar that you can use. Also for dinner whilst down there is the hut where the Mexican is based at night. Nice buffet (but watch out for the kamikaze birds) they go that close to your head!!!
Playacar was about 40 mins to walk. We did this one day! Taxi ride is $70mxp about £4. Fifth avenue is the main street, lots of little shops, restaurants and bars. Please be careful with the tigers that are chained up. You can have your photo taken with these for around £40, they had lions, cougar and a puma. My 3 year old got a bit to close and the tiger stood on his foot and attempted to bite is calf! If it wasn't for the quick thinking of my husband I don't know what would have happened. Luckily nothing happened but it was all caught on camera as that was still recording. We did tell the Thomson rep to warn other parents of this but, the Tiger was only doing what it naturally should. We should have been more careful; please watch your kids near it! It was on my husbands bucket list to be close to a tiger but, never thought he would get to wrestle one!
All in all this was one of the best holidays we have ever had! We didn't go on any trips as we are going to Florida in 3 weeks so we can't comment on any of these. The staff at the hotel work very hard and a simple thank you is all it takes. The dining staff can't do enough for you and they were always clean and tidy. They went out of their way to speak to you and I never had an empty glass on the table as it was always replaced. The manager was always stood at the door during the evening meal and she too was also pleasant and smart.
The Thomson rep were always in reception and they were there to help with anything you needed. If you are going over then we have a request from Katy.....she would like a packet of wine gums as she is addicted to them but, they don't sell them in Mexico. Take her a packet if you can!!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC