May 14-19. I have traveled to many Riu Palaces, and this ranks among the top of them. Upon arrival, check-in is a breeze in the large air conditioned lobby with a full attentive staff. We arrived around 11 a.m. and had two junior suite superior rooms and requested them adjacent. They informed us our rooms were not ready, which was expected due to our early arrival and 3 p.m. check-in time. They gladly took our luggage and did a soft check-in for us, giving us towel cards and wristbands so we could use the facilities until our rooms were ready. They did a wonderful job of explaining the reservations and restaurant procedures and showed us where the areas of interest at the hotel were on a map.
We ate lunch at the buffet overlooking the pools and then walked the grounds while we waited for our rooms. We spent the last hour at the coffee shop, which was my son's favorite place in the entire resort. They have a great selection of pastries and coffee drinks, along with milkshakes to die for! The assistant manager, Ildiko, even walked over and greeted us while we were waiting and asked if there was anything she could do to make our wait better. I consider that superb customer service!
Our rooms were ready shortly before 3. I was pleased to see they were able to get us adjacent rooms (2072 & 2073). The rooms are now the standard Riu Palace white with purple and the jacuzzi tub in the middle, with an open bathroom area. They are nice size and clean. Although I am not a fan of the sterile decor, that is a matter of taste and they are nice by any standard. I will warn families traveling together, there is no divider between the bathroom and bedroom area. The toilet area does have a door and the shower door is frosted, though. The balcony was one of the largest most private balconies I have ever seen and I spent a lot of time there. At first glance, it felt empty with the two plastic reclining chairs and small table because it was so large and bare. (photos below) Note: These rooms are directly above the open-air theater and it is quite loud from 9-11 every evening. The shows end promptly at 11 every night, so if you aren't an early light sleeper, this should not be an issue. Comparable rooms on the north side of the building would be preferable, though. This Riu still has the double beds pushed together as their king room. I believe they offer a mattress topper if this is an issue for you. I would recommend having your travel agent request that ahead of time, though.
The pool area was redone with the remodel. I wasn't a fan at first, because there are 4 separate smaller pools. But after spending some time in them, I began to appreciate the design much more. People seemed to migrate to the pool best suited for their taste. Although I only saw very few children the entire trip, the pool on the left was where the families congregated. The center pool is where the pool bar is and fairly lively and Oscar does a great job keeping the drinks flowing. I like mine strong, so I always requested doubles, which he was glad to oblige. The pool in the front right is the activities pool and almost always hosting an energetic pool volleyball match. And the pool located in the rear right was quiet and had mostly sunbathers and readers gathered around it. I never had much of a problem getting a lounger at either the pools or the beach, which is a common complaint among Riu's.
The beach is a GORGEOUS wide stretch of sugary white sand that goes on as far as the eye can see to the north and about a half mile to the south. I was really impressed with the quality of the sand and the lack of seaweed, even early in the morning. From the steps leading from the pool area to the edge of the water is approximately 120 yards and the sand is clean and soft from the first step off the stairs all of the way into the ocean. The water was the clear turquoise blue that the Caribbean is famous for. There were storms off shore 2 of the days and one day it rained the first half of the day. The waves were noticeably higher those days, but still safe to wade. Non-motorized water sports are included at no cost and available at the beach.
The breakfast buffet is delicious and I think even the pickiest should be able to find something to suit their tastebuds. The lunch buffet near the pool was typical Riu fare and certainly acceptable, although nothing that you will drool over. I was not at all impressed with the Mexican lunch buffet and would not eat there again. I would consider the dinner buffet above average for all-inclusive resorts. The a la carte dinner dining, on the other hand, was amazing! Although the menus were somewhat limited, the quality and execution was outstanding! It is difficult to say which was my favorite because they all have their own unique flare. Without a doubt, Miyagi's Japanese restaurant had the best service, though. We went there our second evening to celebrate my son's 14th birthday. I let the reservation assistant know when I made the reservation that morning, and the host when I arrived. They surprised him with a song and a large birthday cake after dinner. I am not a fan of cake or any sweets for that matter, but that was one of the best layered birthday cakes I have ever had. And it was large enough that I shared with the entire restaurant and made several friends in the process. You are required to make reservations for dinner each morning in person. I was always there no later than 9 a.m., but got the restaurant I wanted every night. We also ordered room service multiple times. The menu is limited, but the food arrived fresh and tasty in a very timely manner.
I don't normally watch the shows when I stay at resorts like this. My son and I went on 3 different nights, though, and really enjoyed all of them. They are very interactive and entertaining, although some might consider them slightly inappropriate for children. Nothing too offensive, just a little crude humor. The kids club puts on a show from 8-9 each night and it looked cute and fun for the kids.
Overall, this was one of my favorite trips...and I am a travel agent, so I have been on quite a few. I will gladly recommend this hotel to my friends, family, and clients. I don't think it gets any better than this without spending thousands more. LOTS of bang for the buck!
Facebook photo album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.310038889151339.1073741835.100004356912221&type=1&l=bff90420c4
- 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