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“Treated like Royalty!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Mexico
Ranked #26 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Maryland
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Treated like Royalty!”
Reviewed 10 January 2009

Just returned from an 8 day stay at the Riu Palace Mexico. The best vacation ever! The rooms were spacious and very clean. Unlike other places, this room and bathroom did not have an odor. There were small mosquitoes that flew around (one or two a night) but they do not bother you. We did not have any issues with "lost or stolen" items as other reviewers mentioned. We always locked our valuables in the safe. Our room was on the first floor and facing the hotel next door. We even brought our camera to the pool and beach but never had anything stolen.
The service at this hotel is outstanding - you are waited on hand and foot. You can eat at either the buffet or the specialty restaurants each evening. The reservation system for the specialty restaurants leaves a little bit to be desired. You must wait at the lounge between 8 and 8:30am for someone to distribute numbers and then you are called to make your selection. We did not have difficulty getting into any restaurant. Our favorite was the Krystal which we sent to twice. Men must wear long slacks to all restaurants.
The pool area is quiet, although there is a major issue with the reserving of chairs with towels. We always had a place but I would see towels on chairs not occupied until 12 noon -- a bit unfair to those who actually want to relax before then.
It is nice to lounge at the pool -- the side opposite the pool bar is nice and quiet. The drink service is prompt and frequent - always someone around to serve you.
We walked to several of the other Riu hotels nearby which are certainly a more casual atmosphere than this hotel. It all depends on what you are looking for.
We especially enjoyed sitting on the terrace in the evening and listening to the band and watching others dance while we were waited on hand and foot -- a true, relaxing vacation!

  • Liked — Service
  • Disliked — Restaurant reservation process
  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank sunnyoneMaryland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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CT USA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2009

Riu Palace Mexico

We had a teriffic vacation. It was everything we had hope for.

A very friendly staff that always greeted us with smiles and went out of their way to make sure we got everything we needed.

Our room was spotless and well provided for. As far as the entire cleanliness of the entire resort, it iwas also spotless.

The food was excellent, fresh and plentiful

The beach and ocean were one of the nicest we have been to and perfectly maintained ,just soft clean sand no trash, seaweed or coral.

The pool was sparkling and the surroundings exceptionally clean.

We enjoyed all the entertainment, both on stage and off.

In total, I would definitely say that this is a five star resort and we appreciate that the staff works so hard to make our vacation so enjoyable..

Leah and Al Sanders
Cheshire Ct

  • Liked — The Beach, water and friendly staff
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank sandear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Syracuse, NY
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2009

We got an upgrade from Riu Tequila to stay here for 3 days. We were told this was their best property so figured we'd take the upgrade.
The lobby was nice, however it had a horrible musty/stale cigarette odor that never went away. After checking in they instructed us to the elevator and said our bags would arrive to our room shorty thereafter. When we got in the elevator I commented on how hot it was in there. All the sudden the elevator got stuck! We tried pressing the buttons to open and NOTHING! I panicked because litterally we were sweltering of heat! My husband had to pry the doors open and thank god it was on a floor. We notified the front desk and didn't use the elevator again til we checked out. As we waited for it to come down, there were 4 people stuck in it! So we hauled our luggage up the stairs and wouldn't use it!
The grounds were very nice and well maintained. The pool was smaller than the other resorts. Much smaller. Oddly it didn't have shallow ends! At the other resorts everytime you ran into an employee they always said "hola" and had a welcoming smile. NOT HERE! The atmosphere was very unwelcoming. The food selection wasn't nearly as big nor as good as Tequila. Our room was 00030 on the bottom level. Warning: if you have a room on the bottom level this side you have a view of a fence where the walk way is to the beach from the other resorts. So basically if you were in your room you had to keep the curtains shut or everyone could see directly in your room! The only thing we liked about this resort was we actually got towel art in our room and the beach was beautiful. However when we were at Tequila, we had access to Riu Yucatan and Riu Playacar that was on the beach. The sand bags in the ocean were unsightly but they did block the big waves so you could swim!
Overall, if we had paid to stay here I would have been upset! I really wish we didn't take the upgrade and spent our last few days at Tequila. It was much more fun there. I read a review on here from one woman that stated they would have had more fun at a funeral parlor then staying here, she was right! Save your money and book Riu Tequila! Such a wonderful resort and very friendly staff! They go out of their way to make you feel welcome!

  • Liked — Beach
  • Disliked — Unfriendly staff, view from room looking at walkway, getting stuck in elevator
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank JK315
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2009

A recent Christmas trip to Playa del Carmen, a lovely spot on the Riviera Maya, was ruined by inept and inhospitable management at the RIU Palace Mexico. As a direct result of a hotel air conditioning repairman failing to latch a first-floor patio door, my son's room was broken into. Probably due to being frightened while going through his backpack (which was dumped unceremoniously on the bed), the thief left with only the backpack and what he thought was a wallet. When we discovered the theft, my son's driver's license, which was the only thing in the wallet, was on the patio floor. We contacted hotel security and then went to the front desk to make our report. The General Manager of the hotel, a woman who's name I have but I need not share here, informed us that there was nothing she could do, as RIU policy prevented her from making good on the theft. I suggested that all she need do was credit my bill with the cost of the empty backpack (US$200) and, if it was found later, merely reverse the credit (the vacation, for 7 of us, had already cost US$20,000 with airfare and transfers.) She refused and said that all I could do was file a police report. She would do nothing. Her attitude was the classic "You'll be gone in a day or two and I could care less what happens to you, your backpack or your family." She then informed me that the wallet had been found, ,empty (it was empty when it started, except for the license) in an area surrounded by three used condoms. Used condoms! How lady-like! Did she mean for me to believe that my son had left his backpack somewhere on her grounds after a rather robust night of sexual activity? That would have been impossible, as he slept in our room that night. He forgot his room key and the night staff at the front desk, without ever asking to see any identification, had given him the room key to someone else's room! He couldn't have slept in his own room that night if he wanted to. His room key was on the night table right where he left it the next morning when we discovered the theft. The "condom" line had been done solely to embarass my son in my eyes. It did not.

I then contacted the Mexican State Police and waited three hours until they responded. When the General Manager saw the police at the curb, she promptly sent a messenger to the lobby to offer me, perhaps, a one-room upgrade (we had three for the family.) I told her no, I didn't want her single room upgrade, especially after killing a morning of my vacation. So this General Manager of a major chain allowed two uniformed Mexican State Police motorcycle cops with submachine guns strapped across their chests to interview me in her own main lobby! Then, when it became apparent that I was serious, a Captain of the State Police arrived in an armored vehicle with an anti-aircraft gun on the back, drove to the front door of the hotel, parked it there and came into the lobby to invite me to make my complaint with the Bilingual Minister of Justice of the Mexican Federal Police in Playa del Carmen. I did make this report, where I discovered that the logbook showed that the RIU chain in Playa del Carmen (though not this hotel unit) had its fair share of criminal complaints.

Wonder of wonders, the backpack showed up the next day, having been "found" at the pool. The General Manager, who had turned her front lobby into an armed camp, never had the courtesy to present it to me herself, but had a lackey do it. My e-mails to RIU's Vice President in Los Cabos went unanswered and my copy to RIU's Customer Service produced the classic "we're investigating" response.

The moral of the story is that there is something to be said for hotels bearing an American hotel chain name. We teach hospitality in our colleges and that principle is based on our belief that the smallest mistake is an opportunity to make a guest for life. Obviously, the huge RIU chain, which is heavily used by Europeans, gets away with having its luxury hotel units run by minor functionaries who do not have the autonomy to solve the sort of problems handled by American motel managers everyday.

Perhaps, in this failing economy, we should get smarter with our vacation dollars. The world is learning a valuable lesson right now. Without America, there is no global economy. My experience at the RIU Palace Mexico suggests that not everyone has learned that lesson as yet. By the way, the hotel is very lovely and the food (all inclusive) about at the level of a mid-level cruise line. The beach is the reason to go as it is far superior to any other RIU in the area.

  • Liked — Beach
  • Disliked — Management and security
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank MouthpieceNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
timetrvl
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2009

Booked this hotel through a tour operator. We stayed at a sister Riu last year (playa del carmen). Riu is the equivalent of Starbucks of the hotels in the Cancun area. They have about 8 "palaces". Last year's experience was good, so we tried a different PALACE. It is identical in many ways to the bigger (and better) Palace (playa del carmen). Check-in service was relatively quick and the rooms were spacious and clean. You do need a flashlight in the shower tub as the Riu infamously keeps you in the dark in the shower area. Amenities of the property overall were good. The beach is very nice and clean with abundant chairs. Unfortunately those gigantic sand bags to stop beach erosion are quite unsightly, but necessary. The palm trees give the natural shade for those who prefer it without seeing the ugly colors of cheap and faded umbrellas. Beach bars were close and you could get service while lounging. The Pool was very disappointing. I was expecting to see the signature "palace pool" but the layout cuts the pool in half or quarters, and the look of concrete was inconsistent with the nice center fountains and landscape that dots the way to the beach and pool area. The pool looked like it was 4 small pools with no rhyme or reason. There was the obligatory swim up bar and an awkwardly placed volleyball net in the middle near the swim up bar!

If you are planning to go to the gym to work out, forget it. It is by far the most disappointing amenity. It is a room of about 15x15 with no view and a multitude of third rate and broken pieces of equipment. When I walked in, two 8-year old boys completely wet from the pool and with no shoes were using the equipment while their mom was non-chalantly using the only operational treadmill and completely oblivious to the kids endangering themselves. There were no towels, no cups, and an empty water cooler. There was sand on the floor.

Food is okay if you are a big fan of "sumptuous buffets". After a day of that, you're ready for change. Breakfast is definitely the best part. Employees in general had a good attitude and worked very hard. They were accommodating and courteous. Making dinner reservations for the small restaurants was difficult and you could see that they preferred that you go to the buffet as you have to make reservations between 8-1030AM. One day I was there at 9AM only to learn that the Japanese restaurant was "fully booked". I peaked in to see that the late seating still had open tables, but they refused to seat us because we did not have reservations!!!

As in the other Riu, this hotel is acoustically challenged. There was not one quiet spot in the whole resort. The walls are thin, and the cleaning crew carry real loud conversations in the hallways at 7AM! The tile is ribbed, so anything that rolls on it makes a lot of noise. If you escape to the pool for peace and quiet, you will be greeted with screaming kids, volleyball games, or even bingo. At the beach, your peace and quiet on the hammock is immediately ruined by beach volleyball, horseshoe contests or vendors hawking their ware.

This resort is not for everybody. If you go with low expectations, you will be happy. If you are a discriminating traveler with a keen eye, you will be annoyed.

  • Liked — Clean room, good attitude from most staff
  • Disliked — noise, the gym, restaurant booking
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank timetrvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Topton, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2008

Stay: December 9-16, 2008

Transfer: American Express transfer service was very efficient and on time.

Check in: Efficient and friendly.

Grounds: Fabulous, beach wide and beautiful. Plenty of hammocks and loungers available all day pool and beachside. Beach is filled with palms. Good shade available for those who need it.

Food: Great selection at the buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Specialty themes each evening. Krystal fusion restaurant ala carte was a wonderful experience.

Staff: Without exception, friendly, helpful and courteous. One of the main reasons we vow to return to Riu resorts.

Pools: Pools were clean and clear with plenty of palms and umbrellas.

Renova Spa: I used the hair salon to have braids done. Excellent service and price.

Laundry: We had our travel clothes washed and ironed. Excellent turnaround time and care in handling our clothes. Bravo!

Room: Excellent view of the lovely fountains. Our room attendant was fantastic, towel art, fresh flowers and attention to detail every day and night.

Amimacion: The team endeavors to get folks involved in a variety of activities, but they are never pushy.

Kids club: We observed the children and their caretakers each day, the children looked like they were enjoying a variety of activities.

Beverages: In-room fridge restocked every day. Bar service excellent with good selection of liquors as well as Corona and Negra Modelo beer available.

Entertainment: Music each night in the courtyard plaza, the evening shows were very good. We especially enjoy the Mariachi and Mayan show.

Other Riu resorts: We had occasion to visit the three Riu's in Cancun: Riu Caribe, Riu Cancun and Riu Palace Las Americas as well as the 5 other Playa del Carmen Riu's--Yucatan, Tequila, Lupita, Playacar, and the Riu Palace Riviera Maya. We were able to enjoy beverages and breakfast and/or lunch at those restaurants inclusive to our stay at the Riu Palace Mexico. Without fail we found the service and grounds to be excellent. Each has its own charm, and I can see why there are folks who return to each.

  • Liked — The cleanliness and style are fantastic.
  • Disliked — We couldn't stay longer.
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Carol D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
B.C. Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2008

We recently returned from the Riu Palace Mexico having stayed there Nov 30 - Dec 14, our 6th visit and 10th and 11th weeks.
Every year we say they can't beat this year, but every time we've gone they have.
I'm not going to discuss the layout of the resort, what the rooms look like, etc as that has been dealt in detail by others.
The first thing we noticed when checking in this year was that the horrible cigar smoke smell that used to be in the lobby and lounge area was gone. This area, the theatre lounge, all restaurants inside are now totally smoke free. You can smoke in the main buffet if you're seated in the patio area outside. Even though we're non-smokers this is generally where we ate breakfast and dinner, totally because of the friendship we have established with Santoyo, the Head Waiter of this section.
As we had always had fountain view rooms in the past this year we were hoping to get a top floor end of the "U" room. When Miguel at Reception was writing down our passport information I saw the # of the room we were getting, 2128 - 3rd floor centre of the north "U". Both my wife and I gave him high fives and he asked if we knew where it was. "oh yes"
Upon getting to our room we were met with balloons, several towel animals, flowers, and a bottle of champagne in the fridge.
Just laying in bed at night we could see the lights of Cozumel and then around 5:30 each morning you could see daylight breaking and the start of the sunrise.
Beach - as seen from pictures posted by others the beach was fantastic and as deep as it was when we visited in '03 and '04. It was now deep enough to put the beach volleyball court back out there but I hope they don't as it just gives that much more room for the lounges. By the way we never saw the towel game being played at either the beach or pool. When we headed to the beach at 9:30 am there were lots of front row lounges available at the pool, and the resort was operating at 100% occupancy for most of our stay.
The "whales" have created some interesting pools where the water is quieter and quite a few fish that we hadn't seen in past years. Watch out for the diving pelicans as they come very close to swimmers. During windy days there can be a riptide or suction effect that has the water from the pools hauled back into the open water and a friend got in severe difficulty one day when he was sucked out and got smashed against the sandbags. He was able to get himself back to shore but did require assistance from the local doctor.
Food - One of the advantages of being a repeat guest is some of the staff will make reservations for you in the specialty restaurants so you don't have to lineup in the morning. I did do it one morning when we decided last minute to go to Krystal. I had no problem making the reservations and was out in about 20 minutes, getting there at 8:10.
We ate at Krystal twice, Miyagi and Steak House once each. We were extremely impressed with Krystal. Maybe we lead sheltered lives but we told Maria, the Manager of the resort, it was the best meal we have ever had anywhere, anytime. You could cut the beef tenderloin with your fork. The Steak House has a new menu and we also had the beef tenderloin there. Excelente! Miyagi used to be our favourite but now took 3rd place.
The rest of the time we ate in Don Julian buffet and the food was very good with lots of variety every day. You just had to wander around, do a scouting mission, then start your selections. Many guests fail to realize there is a Mexican section daily.
Also, as repeat guests, and you'll see it in all the restaurants. If you see someone sitting at a table with flowers or flower petals all over their tables, it's either a special occasion or they've been to the resort many times. We had flowers nearly every lunch and every dinner but one.
For the first time we had absolutely no odour in our room, 3rd floor?, very quiet although we slept with our balcony doors open at night. No problems with theft, etc but then we didn't leave anything out in the open nor did I ever carry a wallet with me except when we went to town. While I never put my camera in the safe while we were there I did put it in the cupboard and hoped for the best.
Tipping - it's a personal thing but we like to tip for good or better service. We went through about US$230 over the two week period.
Hopefully the economy improves somewhat over the next year and we will be able to return for our 7th time. We met some guests who have been visiting the RPM twice a year, two weeks at a time, since it opened in 1999. Rius must be doing something right!

  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
13 Thank bobfrombc
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
#20 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#22 Luxury 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???L. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners ... 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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