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“Very nice resort”

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Hotel Riu Palace Mexico
Ranked #29 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Branson, Missouri
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Very nice resort”
Reviewed 8 January 2014 via mobile

We visited the Riu in November 2013 for the second time. The service, quality of food, and grounds were still excellent. Not sure I like the new renovations. Hotel lobby and rooms appear a little cheap compared to the way the rooms were before. They have open concept bathrooms in your suite. Not bad, but I prefer a little more privacy in the bathroom.

Overall, we had a fantastic trip and enjoyed our vacation. I would stay at the Riu Palace Mexico again.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
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2 Thank Greenarrow16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2014

lots of lovely sun We feel there is an issue with security here. Underage girls being poured drinks by waiters, young women falling down drunk

We also feel there is a real security problem in the rooms and will address this directly with the hotel

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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6 Thank MrsBUg1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hertfordshire, England
Level Contributor
42 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2014

We holidayed here from Monday 23rd December for 10 nights through Thomson. This was our second visit to this hotel.

We flew out on the 787 Dreamliner. The seats were comfortable; the service perfect and really good food especially on the return flight but with only 2 toilets working it was difficult 10 hour flight, not what you expect from a new aircraft.

Cancun is a large, efficient airport with fast moving queues. There were a couple of forms to complete on the flight for customs which we handed in at passport control. The journey by bus took 45 minutes to Playacar.

First impressions of the hotel were very different from our last visit 21 months ago. It’s all very pink, silver and mauve now which gives a cold, tacky and slightly cheap impression compared to the grand opulent and very Mexican impression before the renovation. The hotel still has the two amazing chandeliers and the chapel in the corner but that’s all that remains from the past. We had requested a quiet room on an upper floor which is what we got. We faced the gardens at the side overlooking the hotel next door.

Our impression of Reception was that it was not efficient this time largely due to our door key not working. This entailed 4 trips to and from with the key being reset. Eventually someone came back to the room with us and recoded the door so we could get into our room. After a 10 hour flight and 6 hour time change this wasn’t the start to our holiday we had planned.

Our room was large with two double beds and a separate lounge area. The décor was bright with white walls and trimmings in pink and purple. There was a large wardrobe with plenty of coat hangers and ample drawer space. An iron and ironing board was located in the wardrobe along with a large umbrella. We had a fridge stocked with Beer, Pepsi, Orange, Lemonade and water which was topped up daily. The optics in the room consisted of Vodka, Tequila, White Rum and Brandy. We also had a coffee percolator and supplies of sugar and dried milk and a TV on the wall opposite the bed. The balcony had two comfortable chairs and small table. The balcony railing was Perspex so you could see through to the gardens. There is a small area to hang wet swimsuits which was extremely useful. The beds were comfortable with linen changed regularly.

The bathroom was large and is now part of the bedroom with no separating wall. Whilst this works well for couples I am not sure it would be comfortable for friends holidaying together or teenagers who may not want to sit in the bath in full view as there is no privacy. The shower is now a double walk-in cubicle (with a glass door) which is a great improvement. A hairdryer and toiletries are provided. There is a separate toilet cubicle.

The hotel is spread along the seafront with extensive gardens and fountains reminiscent of a palatial Italian villa. Rooms are located either side overlooking the fountains. Rooms on the outer sides overlooked gardens and adjacent hotels. Only those rooms at the end of the last block would have had any opportunity to see the sea if at all. The gardens were well tended and there was an array of bird and wildlife. We were amazed at what we saw from Mexican Agouti (Dasyprocta Mexicana) to Lemur, Iguana, and Squirrels in the hotel grounds.

The beach was wide with plenty of shade. Palm trees of different sizes covered a large area so you could sit in shade, partial shade or full sun. We tended to get to the beach early between 8.15 and 8.45 and were surprised how many towels had already been placed on beds. The hotel was very busy over the Christmas and New Year so beds were a problem. On one occasion we went off to lunch and were away from our beds for 45 mins. By the time we got back one of them had gone with our belongings dumped on the sand. We were told when discussing it with other guests that this was a regular occurrence and that you could not lunch together and expect your beds to be there when you got back. We did find that some guests managed to get multiple towels so that they could bag a bed on the beach and round the pool. In theory you were only allowed one towel per card but there is obviously ways round this rule.

There are the obligatory games on the beach such as volleyball, darts etc. everything is done with the minimum of fuss and there was not much shouting by the entertainments staff. Round the pool however is a different story as loud music with the same boom-boom beat is played most of the day. The music can also be heard on the beach. This surprised us given the use of personal iPod, iPhone and iPad’s in use where you can access your own music.

There are now 4 pool areas which surround the pool bar. Towels are available at 8am daily. If you want to be at the beach early its best when returning your towel in the late afternoon to collect clean ones for the morning. There is plenty of shade round the pool and the changes made are a great improvement.

Bar’s
The main “Bar Cubano" /lobby bar is just off reception opposite the main lobby entrance door. The décor is reminiscent of an American diner/ Ice cream parlour in pink and mauve. In our opinion this is the area now refurbished which has lost all ambience and charm. The lighting is harsh, grey and the bar has no atmosphere. The regular pianist who plays 2 to 3 evenings a week is still there. In one corner the hotel now has a coffee bar. We didn’t see the point of this at all and in the evening was used as an overflow bar area.

All the staff in the hotel were excellent, well trained, polite and a credit to the hotel. We noted however that some bar staff chew gum whilst working.

The hotel has a 24 hour bar/eating area of the main reception. We didn’t see anyone use it during our stay but it’s probably packed during spring break (March/April).

On the ground floor there is a very nice terrace area where you can get drinks and listen to the band playing on stage. The main entertainments area was also here and shows were performed in the evening

Food and restaurants:
The food in the hotel was exceptionally good. There is so much choice you couldn’t fail not to find something you would like to eat. Vegetarians are well catered for. Food was regularly topped up so nothing ran short and the hot buffet areas had chefs preparing food constantly.
There are a selection of waiter service restaurants should you prefer this to a buffet which can be booked in the morning from 8.30 in the main bar downstairs – Los Mariachis.
The dress code has been relaxed in the hotel so then men no longer have to wear long trousers for dinner in the main buffet restaurant. This is a real shame as some turned up in beach wear and didn’t make the effort.

There is now one large restaurant on the beach. Again the food selection and quality were good however it’s now so large it’s like canteen/cafeteria. The dress code for lunch was footwear and a covering (sarong/shorts) on the lower half. The loos for the beach are located here and are much improved.

Wine
The wine in the hotel isn’t bad for an all-inclusive. There seemed to be 3 red varieties available: Cabinet Sauvignon, Merlot and a Malbec. There was also a selection of white and rosé wines available.

Facilities
There is a spa area near the beach and there are a couple of tent areas actually on the beach where you can get a massage. We didn’t try either. There is also a gym and children’s area. Wi-Fi internet is available free throughout the hotel and in rooms. The only place we could not connect up was on the beach.

There are 5 Riu hotels on the Playacar complex and you can visit them all for a drink, breakfast or lunch. You need to eat in your own hotel in the evening.

A Dive and windsurf centre was on the beach and they can organise anything you want.

There is a small shop in reception with a small selection of gifts and books available.

The weather was mixed during our stay and we noted that there were many more hungry mosquitos around. You will definitely need a spray or something as the bites are vicious.

Across the road to the right as you leave the hotel are a few shops. It’s worth popping over to have a look but you might get a better price in Playa del Carmen where there are a huge number of souvenir shops. Shopping is quite good in Playa del Carmen although a lot of the typical Mexican shops are being replaced with modern shopping malls.

Whilst we were at the hotel there was a mix of European nationalities, Canadians but the majority of guests were American and Russian.

A couple of things worth noting:

Buffet - we noticed that children and some adults were taking food from the buffet using hands and in some cases putting it back. We understand that some children might not understand the significance of this we were shocked to see adults do it. Also we noted many guests eating from their plates whilst walking back to their tables.

Hand washing after using the bathroom. Amazingly some people don’t wash their hands.

Kids – As it was a festive break there were many families staying in the hotel. Whilst we appreciated the need for families to have family time together we didn’t feel we wanted or needed to be part of it especially during dinner when the dining room became a large play area.

Entertainment – Adult entertainment started very late in the evening consequently children’s entertainment (kids show) went on till about 9pm. Children then run around the terrace until bed time.

We enjoyed our holiday at the hotel however we probably wouldn’t go back. The hotel is not to the standard we expect and would say that the Riu Palace Mexico is no longer 5 star more like a good 4 star.

Room Tip: Rooms on the outside facing adjacent hotels are quiet.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
16 Thank Car0leC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
37 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2014

We have stayed here many times in the past, recently renovated the rooms are no longer family friendly !
open concept bathrooms , this really doesn't work if you have a girl in her teens !!

Also the rooms are VERY humid due to the fact that they have No fan in the bathroom area.
Besides that it's a nice hotel

Room Tip: Beach is fare get a room as close as possible...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank RD2509
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria bc
Level Contributor
46 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2014

We booked a two week vacation at the Viva Azteca Wyndham but the food was so bad, everyday the same food, we decided to move hotels. We loved the Playacar area so we chose the Rui Mexico. We had to pay an additional $900 for one week. We were a bit concerned after reading a couple of negative reviews,however once here I have no idea what those people were talking about. We have been to Mexico 18 times over the last 25 years and we have stayed in some very nice 5 star resorts and this one is among the nicest. The food is amazing and so much to choose from. The staff are all very nice, perhaps not as friendly as the Azteca, maybe more refined service. We were in room 1002 close to the lobby and yes there was some hallway noise in the early evening but nothing after 11 pm and nothing before 8 am. Yes the rooms are a little musty but that is because it has been raining for weeks here, every hotel is going to be musty. Room suggestions, pay extra and get fountain views, we had a junior suite which are all back facing units. It is a bit of a walk to the beach from the lobby, maybe 2 minutes but the walk is beautiful. The only complaint would be that you have to reserve your speciality restaurants everyday. They do not allow you to book your whole stay, however you can book as many times as you like. Unlike the Azteca we didn't have to put our towels out at 7 am to get chairs in the shade, although the pool area fills up pretty fast. All in all a great hotel.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Deleta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2014

Wow! The Riu Palace is true to its name and treats its guests like royalty making for an unforgettable vacation. The boyfriend and I stayed at the Riu in early October 2013 for 6 nights and we only have rave reviews for the resort and its wonderful staff.

Weather: Despite the weather forecast anticipating rain almost every day, we were lucky to have sunny warm days every day. When it did rain, it was at night and only for a couple of hours. The staff must have worked diligently to mop the grounds because the next day, you would not have been able to guess it had rained at all.

Remarkable Staff: Everyone at the Riu is always greeting you with a smile and go out of their way to make your stay truly amazing. The Riu hospitality is above and beyond comparison. If you need anything, more pillows or a refill in your inroom minibar, a simple call to the front desk and you got it in 15 minutes. Everyone from the bartenders, to the front desk, to the entertainment staff is always kind, friendly, and helpful.

Beautiful Grounds: The grounds are kept meticulously clean and spotless. At any point in the day, you will see someone cleaning something somewhere. I suppose the décor is a matter of preference but we personally loved the décor. We thought all the décor from the guest rooms to the main lobby and restaurants were very modern and chic.

Stunning Beach: The water is calm and the most clear shade of turquoise with long stretches of soft white sand. There were no rocks or seaweed in the water as we have seen elsewhere. The pools were nice as well, but with a beach this gorgeous we’d rather spend every day swimming in the ocean. There were always plenty of lounge chairs and shade under the palm trees. This was the most beautiful beach we have ever been to.

Delicious food: The buffets are extensive with a wide selection of food that is not only beautifully displayed but also delicious. There is only a specific time frame in the morning each day that you can reserve a spot for the specialty restaurants. So if you miss that time frame, you're out of luck. But the food in the buffet is so good, you don’t feel that you are missing out much. We were able to dine in the Steak restaurant and Krystal fusion restaurant and both had great presentation and tasty meals. The Cappuccino Bar in the lobby was my personal favorite place to relax at night, enjoying the delicious drinks and desserts, while listening to live classical piano.

You would really have to go out of your way to find minuscule fault with this resort. My boyfriend and I were so impressed with the Riu Palace Mexico we plan to return in April 2014. I highly recommend this resort for a spectacular vacation!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
13 Thank MaryDoes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newbury, Ohio
Level Contributor
109 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2014

We just returned from a 6 night stay at the Riu Palace Mexico. The ride to the resort seemed to take a while and our driver actually tried to drop us off at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya first. Make sure they drop you at the right location!! When we got inside, we realized the décor was the classical versus the modern décor that the Riu Palace Mexico displays and made him take us to the correct location.

Upon arrival we were greeted with a fruity drink and our rooms were ready at 2PM (Check in is at 3PM), we had my in-laws with us and they had a regular junior suite, their room smelled a bit on the musty side. Our room was the Two Floor Jacuzzi Suite, no odor whatsoever. The room was amazing, the Jacuzzi tub on the 2nd floor terrace was awesome, the view from upstairs even better, the rest of the room was great too, the service we received at the palace was second to none. We are Riu Class Members and have been to several Riu’s over the past years, this was by far some of the best service we have received at any Riu. Our Suite was 2068, we were directly above the entertainment…we thought this would be annoying but the music/noise stops around 11PM and we rarely went to bed before that time, but the few times we did, we just used the music as a “Sound Soother” type noise. No complaints. We celebrated my husband’s birthday and I had submitted that it was my husband’s birthday on the Riu Class website, the maids decorated our room while we were at the pool and they later sent up a fruit plate and a letter wishing my husband a happy birthday. Very sweet. We also informed the Steak House staff that it was his birthday and they sang their Birthday tune to him and gave him a special cake. Elizabeth from the entertainment team sang Happy Birthday to him at the Bingo game that afternoon and they brought him up on stage before the nightly show and did a toast to him for his birthday as well, really went above and beyond to make him feel special. The Animacion team is phenomenal. Elizabeth, Enrique, and Mari are AMAZING. We miss them! The other Animacion team members actually allowed a guest on stage to sing Happy Birthday to one of the staff members and give her a small gift, the staff then dunked Mari into a “shallow pool” for her birthday, they love to have fun, this was fun for the guests as well. Each time we had our room cleaned we left tips (in peso’s) and a Hershey Holiday candy bar that we brought from the states . There wasn’t a moment that you did not see someone cleaning, they work tirelessly all day to keep the place looking spotless. The beach was wonderful, the pan handlers weren’t pushy and a simple no thanks would send them away, we did however see a “drug deal” go down between a tourist and a “Cigar” salesman. ;) The food was great and we never had any problems finding something to eat, for drinks, I mostly stuck to Dos Equis but the fruity drinks were tasty from time to time, on the beach they have a few people walking around with big trays full of drinks so you don’t have to leave the beach. It was very nice. The resort will not exchange US currency so you will have to get Peso’s before you leave home or at the airport/bank. We ordered Peso’s from Wells Fargo before we left, we found they had the best exchange rate, just enough for tips and souvenirs, we have a card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees so that is what we used for our excursions. We had the front desk at Riu break down our Peso’s into smaller bills as the ones we received from the bank were too large for tipping, we did this as did our in-laws, they had no problem exchanging the Peso’s, as they had tons of 20 and 50 peso bills to part with, I’m sure they expect this. The airport will NOT take American currency for your baggage on your way home so plan on paying in Peso’s or with a credit card. There are gift shops right outside of the resort, if you go to the sidewalk and make a right they are not even a 2 minute walk, some of them have very good prices and you can negotiate with some of them. Most of these vendors will take US Dollars and Peso’s. The staff prefers to receive their tips in peso’s, that way they don’t have to exchange the money/lose a percentage or so of it in fees. Tip often, tip well, they work hard, they deserve it. The only thing that irritated me was the SMOKING. While they don’t let anyone smoke inside the facility, they smoke literally EVERYWHERE else. At night, for the shows, even if you were sitting as far in to the stage as possible the smokers were right outside the doors, blowing their toxic fumes into the stage area. As someone who is highly allergic to smoke, this ruined most of my evenings. I would also have to get up and move because there were so many smokers surrounding us on the beach…pool, etc. All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to go back, it was an amazing memorable trip! :)

Room Tip: Upgrade to the Jacuzzi suite, you won't regret it! :)
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank MissKissy05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Mexico

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Mexico
Address: Avenida Xaman-Ha, Manzana 3, Lote 4 | Condominio Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#21 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#24 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#24 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#32 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Mexico 4*
Number of rooms: 434
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on the Yucatan peninsula, 3 km / 1.9 Miles from Playa del Carmen * Within the Playacar resort, along with the Riu Palace Riviera Maya, Riu Yucatan, Riu Playacar and the ClubHotel Riu Tequila hotels * 2-storey building * Surrounded by 20,000 m2 / 24,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Located on the beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 200 m / 650 feet from Mexican Street * 55 km / 34 miles from Cancun Int. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Mexico Hotel
Riu Palace Mexico Playa Del Carmen
Riu Palace Playa Del Carmen
Riu Palace Mayan Riviera
Riu Playa Del Carmen
Mexico Palace Riu
Riu Mexico
Rui Palace Mexico
Hotel Riu Palace Mexico Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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