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“GREAT RESORT TIMING NOT GREAT” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

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Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
Ranked #10 of 81 Hotels in Mazatlan
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“GREAT RESORT TIMING NOT GREAT”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2014

Week of April25-May2 . Very nice resort easy to get around elevators hit and miss. We did everything early to beat the rush as the resort was 80% mexican with there holidays falling in april/may. It was to much for us as we are there to relax and really had to work around it. The resort and the service was good, the room were good and the food also very good . The buffet was very good and a lot of choices.

Room Tip: All rooms are ocean view
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jpo78
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
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (839)
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English first
Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2014

Week of April 22-29, 2014, via Sunwing/Signature

Our first reaction on entering the RIU EMERALD BAY was WOW! What a beautiful hotel, both inside and out. From the lobby windows, the gorgeous blues of the skies and ever-in-motion ocean had us congratulating ourselves on choosing to holiday here as a change from our favourite of the last 3 years, the Viva Wyndham Tangerine in Cabarete, Puerto Plata.

Unlike most vacationers, we search for beaches with waves suitable for body (not board) surfing. Cabarete, if you don't get your head taken off by the wind-surfers who sometimes come too close to swimmers, is the best we've found outside of Lagunamar on Margarita Island, Venezuela. Photos and videos we found online made Riu Emerald Bay look like just what we wanted for my 72-year-old hubby who still thinks he's 16 when he body surfs. Sadly, this trip, he ended up feeling every bit of his 72 years as he battled the dreadful backwash and 8-9ft waves that dumped endlessly on shore. He "caught" and "rode" 5 waves the first day, and by the end of the week, had given up any hope of catching even one. My husband is an Aussie who grew up on a beach and knows what is safe for body-surfing. As he ruefully said, "they would have closed our beach at home if it were like this!"

So, yes, folks could venture into the waters of the beach but only the very brave (or stupid) went further than 20 feet from the shore. One couple did, at the far end of the beach, and had to be rescued and carted off by emergency services.The water temperature was lovely, about 77 degrees. Good for a quick dip to cool off. What was best about this beach was walking along it. Just a fantastic "walking beach" with firm, level sand that didn't make your ankles and calves ache even after a kilometer or two of walking. And this beach is so long you could walk for miles if you wanted to. Magnificent with the roar of the waves in your ears, fabulous 30 degree temps, and endless blue skies overhead.

Then, there's the resort itself: how anyone can complain about the food beats me! It was a feast, a banquet, with so much to choose from at every meal. Lots of marvellous salads, fresh fruits, and meats and fish done every which way night after night. Of course, as we've found with most of the vacation places, the beef was usually tough unless it was in a stew, but with so much else to choose from, it wasn't missed. I'm not a huge lamb eater, but the one night they had it, I couldn't get enough of it. Tender and tasty! Soups, as I always find, were fabulous. But the coffee was terrible. The pre-mixed powdered cappucino was the most popular choice, it seemed, for a lot of diners. While I despise chemical-laden mixes, even I succumbed to having my coffee that way. More palatable.

Our room was on the 6th floor and offered a wonderful view of the pools below and the ocean. I spent a lot of time relaxing on the balcony and taking it all in. The room itself was spacious, clean, with a well-stocked in room bar and mini-fridge. But we didn't make much use of either as we spent most of our time on the beach near the pool bars. By the end of the week, that was an end of the beach I came to hate, thanks to the non-stop noise from the swim-up bar and the music and resort activities on the closer large pool. Put it this way: if one went to this resort looking to have a peaceful holiday, stay well away from this "active" end of the resort. The noise was relentless, made worse by something no-one told us: this was Easter vacation week for Mexico and it sounded like half of Mexico's families stayed at the RIU with us. Can't blame them of course: it's a fantastic resort. But for us, it was a case of bad timing, both for the surf and the sheer volume of children and adults everywhere! Some have complained that made swimming in the pools difficult. But what I personally found worse was the racket of screaming children and the clatter of dishes, knifes and forks and endless traffic of people around 9pm in the dining room. It was like Grand Central Station trying to get to the food and get back to your table without someone bumping into you!

One of the best things for me, personally, was taking advantage of the other 50m curvy pool on the property between 7-8 am each morning. I'm a lap-swimmer and I've learned over the years of travelling to resorts that if I want to get in a good swim, I need to hit the pool before everyone else does. So what a joy to have that long pool all to myself to work out in first thing in the morning.

What did we like apart from that? The beautiful, friendly service by everyone from bartenders to maids, to client services at the desk; the happy smiling faces on the animation teams, the floor sweepers, the bathroom attendants and maintenance people. Our room was quiet, the bed comfortable, the sunset views amazing. And the evening entertainment shows in the stunning, large theater were very good and not overly long.

But as for those elevators everyone complains about, well, yes, they were a problem, particularly with so many people there. There are only 3 elevators that hold only about 10 people, servicing 18 floors. Horribly inadequate at peak times like breakfast and dinner and after the shows.

After reading other reviews on here, and on the suggestion of some Americans we befriended at the resort, we did walk to Mr. Lionsos at the cliff end of the beach for lunch and free Tequila sampling. Our lobster/shrimp dinners were one of the best meals we had during our stay and cost us each only $22. We sampled regular, amaretto and coffee tequila made on a local plantation. It was superb. A bottle of regular and coffee came home with us, for only $20 each. And we're not tequila fans ... that's how good it was! I highly recommend a visit to Mr. Lionso's.

Well I could go on and on but this is long enough. Would we go back? Not unless someone could guarantee a more surfable surf ... and who can promise you that! That's not the resort's fault. So in the end, between the surf, the Easter vacationers, I'd have to say what I said in my title: beautiful resort, bad timing ... if what one wanted was a peaceful vacation and a good surfing beach. But if you like lots of commotion, motion, excitement and noise, go for it!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank cruiseroo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Whitby, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2014

We are just back from our holiday at the Riu Emerald Bay in Mexico, the hotel was very nice the staff excellent but never go to Mexico during Easter as the kids have a 2 week holiday, our hotel was overrun with children could hardly get into the pools although we had 6 pools. The food was passable we are not great on Mexican food but we could always find something to eat the bars were good but you had to ask for the international drinks otherwise it would be local. We had a great room on the 14th floor the view was beautiful. All in all it was a good holiday but we would not return as we are used to the Riu Palaces which do give you more for your money.

Room Tip: Take a room higher up for the view, we had no problem with elevators eventhough the hotel was comple...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Renate B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cloquet, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2014

We stayed at this hotel the 1st week of March 2014. This was our 9th stay with Riu in 3 different locations in Mexico & 1 in Jamaica. This chain has it dialed in. We have never had a bad experience at any of them & Riu Emerald Bay was no exception. We upgraded to a Honeymoon room on the ninth floor in the SW corner & the larger balcony made it well worth it. South end of balcony gave you city/ocean view & north end was nothing but ocean. It also provided some afternoon shade which the regular balconies don't. Perfect weather & gorgeous sunsets every evening. Lots of dolphins & few whales out front each day. Bring your binoculars. Far & away the best hotel beach in Mazatlan. Plenty of space; didn't have to get out early to reserve a lounger. Food was good; we mostly ate at the buffet. Drink service was best ever at a Riu in spite of a full house due to the Carnival celebration in town. Staff was excellent; all requests handled in a timely manner & to our satisfaction. Tipping is not required & did not affect the level of service, though we always leave these hard working professionals a few dollars. There are also some very reasonably priced restaurants a short walk down the beach to the north if you want some good seafood. Enjoyed Mazatlan so much we'll be back again next year.

Room Tip: Large hotel with only 6 elevators with a capacity of 8 persons each which get heavy use during peak...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Thomas N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tillsonburg, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2014

The resort is beautiful the staff is very friendly the food was excellent..this was our second time going here we love this place. The beach is beautiful and at the end of the beach is a restaurant Playa Bruja a must try..there's a market there as well totally recommend it..We went quading plus toured old town Mazatlan totally recommend doing that as well..the rooms are all ocean view..the only down fall was the elevators were slow but over all I recommend Riu Emerald Bay

Room Tip: Any room is good as you can see the ocean
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Sandy19601
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2014

I must say right off that this is the cleanest hotel I have ever seen. My husband said he would eat off the public bathroom's floors he was so impressed. They were constantly cleaning and moping up around us, but not to the point of being intrusive.
That being said, there were a few things I wasn't impressed with, first being the pools. They are broken up into several smaller pools, with the swim up bar being the smallest. That pool gets very crowded and funny thing is that while there is so much drinking there, very few have to go to the bathroom, so the result at the end of the day is worse than any kiddy pee pool I have seen. The bartender will come around to the other pools eventually and mix you drinks, and there is always the self serve beer and pop stations.. There is also beer and pop delivered to your room every 2nd day as well as the booze stations in your room.
If you don't like a lot of kids around, this is the wrong place for you, as there were tons of kids when we were there, mostly Mexican.
The rooms were very comfortable and clean. The beds comfortable. And the fridge is great to have, as well as the free safe. Beware that they make inspections and if you have jewelry, lap tops, or any valuables out in the open, they will take them to the office and leave you a little note to bring ID and collect them at the desk.
The food was very good, especially the bbq on the beach. Lots of variety and well cooked. When we were there (Jan) the restaurants were mostly closed as there was only 50% occupancy, so we had to have the buffet most times. Was not impressed that they expected you to line up early morning to book the one restaurant they had open that night. They rotated which was open, but you had to book early, not cool, and you couldn't phone for the reservation. The restaurants were buffet again, so not great, except for the Mexican was served.
Staff was great, entertainment was just OK as every second night, they had an audience participation event. When they had dancers, they were great, especially Momma Mia, Games in the day were only in the center pool and lame. Prizes were diplomas presented at the show at night. A tee shirt would have been nice. At the bar pool, the games were sexy dance, over and over again. Boring after the first time.
All in all was a great stay, great food, great staff, with just a few wrinkles.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MJaneM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2014

I read all the reviews before arriving at our destination. The price was great & our flight was direct..what else could u ask for?? Little did I know that starting the Easter long weekend was also a Mexican holiday for 2 weeks. Man...there were so many Mexican tourists & each family had at least 3 kids! The resort was soo busy the weekend we arrived. I've stayed at a Riu but in Los Cabos & that one was way nicer. The rooms were very typical & so was the food. Having been told by the tour guide that Mazatlan was famous for their shrimps, I sure didnt see a lot of that this week. The restaurants that you had to make reso's for were not a la carte, they were also buffets. By the end of our stay, I was really buffeted out! I mainly stuck with salads & fish/ seafood...hey..isn't there supposed to be an abundance of it in Mazatlan?? We went to a place called Roy's bc I read great reviews about it...ya...they ran out of lobsters & coronas by 8pm...out of coronas?? is that possible?? We went to the sports bar next door ( The Last Drop) Not disappointed at all! They had lobsters & coronas! They also had hockey playoffs on the big screen TV! Service was awesome. I'd choose this
place over Roy's any day!

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Karetaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

Property: Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
Address: Av. Sabalo-Cerritos #3404 zona costera cerritos | Nuevo Mazatlán - Sinaloa, Mazatlan 82110, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Sinaloa > Mazatlan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Mazatlan
#7 Spa Hotel in Mazatlan
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Mazatlan
#10 Romantic Hotel in Mazatlan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Emerald Bay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 716
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Opening summer 2009 * 12 km / 7.45 Miles from Mazatlan, overlooking the Pacific Ocean * Located on Playa Las Brujas beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 20-story main building * Surrounded by 13.500 M2 / 16.15 Sq. Yards of lush gardens * 10 km / 6.2 Miles from various shops * 12 km / 7.45 Miles from Mazatlan * 32 km / 19.87 Miles from the airport * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Emerald Bay Mazatlan

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