So I'm looking at the Riu Vallarta and like what I see. I love how the two pools are set up. The jr. suites look nice. From what I understand though, the Riu Palace Pacifico is the way to go - just everything is nicer. The only AI in Mexico we've been to is the Riu Yucatan in Playa del Carmen and we LOVED it - except the shabby rooms which are currently undergoing a remodel. We were there a week before they closed, so it's not affecting my opinion of the Riu brand.
I know that I can use the other Rius if I stay at a Palace, and we did that in Playa, but not very often. I preferred hanging out by our pool and restaurants because I liked our resort the best. So I don't know how often I'd make it over to the pool I like when it's not by my room.
Both are affordable, am I crazy for wanting to stay at the Vallarta over the Palace?