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“First Class Resort, Service, Food, etc. A Special Place !”

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Hotel Riu Palace Mexico
Ranked #28 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Charlotte, NC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“First Class Resort, Service, Food, etc. A Special Place !”
Reviewed 7 December 2004

My wife and I just returned from our visit (Dec. 2-6) and I must say having stayed at several nice Hotels elsewhere( Ritz Carlton Kapalua among them), the Riu Chain of resorts has it all together. It was our first stay at a Riu property, and we plan on returning. All of the staff were very friendly, with a couple of minor exceptions.
The food was really good in general. The buffet for breakfast was quite good, with several different stations. One for eggs made to order, great omelets, sausages, really good bacon, etc. One section seemed geared more to the European guests, pates, cold cuts, lots of yogurts, fruit, etc. There was a fresh juice station with lots of great combinations..banana and milk ? Delicious! My only complaint would be the coffee. Sometimes it was OK, others not so. We had similar-tasting coffee on a Princess cruise last fall, didn't taste fresh brewed, a pre-mix perhaps.
LUNCH ! El Patio and La Traviata, located near the beach share the same pavilion, one side had primarily American fare, burgers, dogs, chicken etc., which we shied away from. Not that they didn't look good, we just wanted to have some thing different. la Traviata had a terrific selection of cold salads, meats, the olives were great. The hot station had fish, pasta, and a great carne asada. We tried not to over indulge!
DINNER We dined at Sir Edward, one of the a la carte restaurants, two of our four nights. You must make reservatiions early AM the same day, if you want to get in. Crab Bisque and Yucatecan lime soup were excellent, and a nice touch was a plate of melon, jambon, and slices of a great parmesan (Reggiano?) for starters. A pretty decent Spanish Champag.... er, sparkling wine, was always available. The wine was surprisingly good, Chilean Merlot and Cabernet, Gato Negro, I may try to see if I can get it in the States. Grilled Red Snapper, lamb chops, beef tenderloin with mushrooms, and duck breast were the main course selections. We had all but the snapper, each was well prepared and served hot. Dessert was crepes suzette, peaches melba, or mixed fruit with honey. Cointreau and various other spirits were offered after dinner. We had the early seating @ 6:45. We never felt rushed. A pleasant dining experience indeed. Sunday night, we celebrated my wifes 40th birthday, and the staff made it special by singing to her and presenting an excellent chocolate mousse cake. Everybody in the restaurant cheered, and she was somewhat embasassed but very thrilled. Again, the staff at The Riu Palace are terriffic. We will be returning ! I will end it there. I will be glad to comment on the beach, pool area, spa, whatever specific questions you may have in the forum area. Just post your question Re: Riu Palace Convert. LOL!

4 Thank mojoclt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2004

My husband and I, along with 32 guests ranging in age from 22 to 80, stayed for the November 14th week - and had an absolutely magnificent time. We departed from Calgary and had no problems. Arrival in Cancun was very effortless and not one of our group got held up along the way. And don't be intimidated by other reports of the time-share "sharks" - there are lots of them, but you simply say no thank-you and keep on walking. Right outside the doors are your coaches and it was easy to discover which was ours, we just had to ask. Once everyone was loaded, we started off and the guide gave us a detailed description of what was to come (along with $2 Corona's!). The only disappointment on the trip to the resort was that it got dark early and we couldn't see the scenery, but it was beautiful arriving at the hotel in the dark. Everything was lit up and it looked spectacular! We did stop briefly at 2 other RIU hotels to drop off other guests, but these stops were short as most of the coach held our guests. Our first impression of the resort was nothing but fabulous - any pictures you see on the internet will not do it justice. The lobby is opulent and you feel like you've stepped into a 1950's movie set. The ushered us into a conference room, handed us a cold drink and check-in took no time at all. We went went to our rooms and then headed down for dinner. The rooms were also wonderful - they are large and have lots of wood, making them feel more luxurious. Only one room in our party was worrisom (slight chemical smell), so they moved us to a room with a better view and gave those guests our room. You do notice a bit of a smell in the rooms - but I couldn't say it was overpowering or unbearable. Having lived in the South Pacific for years, I have to say it was the familiar smell of humidity and you'll get used to it quickly. We moved to room 0051, which was a courtyard room on the bottom, at the end near the pool and beach. During the week, it was very quiet and we enjoyed the excellent service we had. We did tip $2-3 dollars each day and had towel animals and flowers on several occations - and they went all-out on the morning of the wedding. We had towel swans and hearts, flowers, lots of balloons and streamers, and they brought champagne, fruit and tequila while we we at the wedding dinner. The bathrooms are not as dark as mentioned in other reviews, and are actually very large. And we never had a problem with plugged drains or no hot water. Because that was our first night, we were able to attend dinner after we checked in and were not forced to wait for a seating time. This was to be the start of an excellent week of dining at Don Julian. Right off the bat - my Dad hit it off with Hernandez the maitre-de and the waiter for our section on the terrace, Johan (hola guys!) - and we were able to book that table for the rest of the week. It was gorgeous to eat in the open air each night, and the service is beyond anything you will see back home. After the first night, I never had to ask for wine - it was there seconds after I sat down. And you couldn't finish your glass without Johan there to fill it immediately. The food itself was excellent and there is so much selection - same with the alcohol selection. You could drink top shelf (which we did all week), or have great non-alcohol drinks (which my pregnant brides-maid did all week). Again, if you are not happy with the food or alcohol selection, then you have to be a very fussy eater! And although the resort was full while we were there, we showed up for dinner anytime between 6:30 and 10:00, and we never had a problem getting in or getting our table. We did tip Hernandez and Johan fairly well each night, so this may have been why. We did practice the dress-code and have to admit it was nice for us ranchers from the prairie to get dolled-up! Admitedly, we did wear jeans the first night and had no problem, although they did turn guys away in shorts later in the week. FYI - breakfast and lunch could be had at Don Julian's as well, or at the restaurant at the beach. The selection and freshness was always good. My husband and I never tried the other a-la-carte restaurants, but others in the group did and they were very impressed. And not one of our group got sick while we were there.
The other thing to mention about the RIU Palace is the cleanliness and the exceptional staff. That resort is scrubbed, polished, mowed, raked and generally cleaned all day long. The common areas and beach are extremely tidy and you see people working at all hours. We did not see many bugs, but did see the large native hamster/rabbit-like animals and one small snake. And we never passed a staff member without a smile and hola. Even the front desk staff (who have been given a bad rap) were wonderful. If we had a problem or question, they were helpful to the end - especially Carlos!
As for the rest of the week, we varied between lying on the beach and taking tours. The beach itself is wonderfully white and has both shaded and non-shaded areas, with heaps of lounge chairs. We did discover that Europeans do favour this resort and there were lots of topless women and men in thongs, but you do get used to it after the first day and are even tempted to try it yourself! The water was a bit rough the days we were there, but nothing unbearable and several of our group went pairasailing. The pool was a nice break from salt-water and we did thoroughly enjoy the swim-up bar and activities staff. The entire week, it varied between 30 and 36, so the weather was fantastic.
We did manage to go fishing from Porto Adventuras one day, but because it was so rough, most of the two boatfuls got sick. But after the captain brought us land-lovers back, he did take out the few with iron-stomachs and they did manage to have a great time, catching a few barracuda and some benito. Tip to the wise, go on a very calm day! This was $45 US per person, and included transportation to PA and fishing for 5 hours. Not too bad of a deal. We went to Cancun on Wednesday to see the bullfights ($32 US), and most of us were fairly quiet coming home. It is something to see, but I think the beauty and tradition of the event was lost on most people, and some thought it extremely gorry. Glad we went, but probably wouldn't go again. My husband golfed at the Playacar course ($150 US plus $32 for clubs) and loved it. It was a bit pricey, but true golfers would enjoy it at least once - very narrow and challenging. Great scenery too! On Saturday, we took a cab ($10 US) to Xcaret ($50 US) and spent the day. There is lots to do and see there, but most things cost extra. We paid $28 US to go to the reef and snorkle for and hour, and it was worth it. Some in the group stayed for the night show and said it was the highlight of their trip. This tour could be booked through our Sunquest coordinator at the hotel, but we saved about $20 US by cabbing it there. During the week, others took tours to Tulum, a Cancun pub-crawl, Xel-Ha and swimming with the dolphins at PA. We would highly recommend taking the tours for some things, and doing it the "local" way for others. The tour coordinator can book most anything, but there is excitement in doing things on your own as well.
The RIU Palace is in a "gated" community of other fancier hotels, golf course and private homes - which butts right against Playa del Carmen. You could take a $4 US cab ride right to 5th Avenue, or walk about 20 minutes. Both are safe to do at any time of the day, although their cab drivers are a little crazy! 5th Avenue was great and you can buy or do most anything. We felt very safe there and spent a few evenings ckecking out the night-life.
Our wedding was held on Thursday and it was a perfect day. On the Monday, we had met with Mica our planner and she was very helpful. We picked the flowers, decor, trio of live music and completed the paperwork. Because we had to do blood-work, the doctor came right to our room and was very professional. On the wedding day itself, everything ran so smooth and it was an absolutely perfect day. We were married on the beach, with the water and boats behind us. The judge only spoke Spanish, so everything was translated - but in the end we received our certificate and were legally married! And we had a crowd the entire time! There were lots of hotel guests watching and cheering - which made the day that much more special. Hello to our new friends in Toronto and Connecticut! We went into Playa del Carmen for the dinner, but returned to the resort to enjoy the music and entertainment in the courtyard until it closed. We then went across the street to the RIU Tequila and hit the disco. When we left at 1:30 am, our 80 year-old grandma was still dancing up a storm!
To sum up this very long review - this resort and area of Mexico are unbelieveable. We went to the sister RIU hotels and they are not near as fancy or clean, and their staff was not as professional. And there were few other resorts in Playacar that could match ours. Even the cab drivers told us we were staying in luxury! For the most part, our group are not wealthy or pretentious people, but it's easy to feel special and a bit snooty while staying at the Palace. Everything from the decor, to the service, to the quiet and peacefullness, to the other guests was perfect and we know we could not have had a more special wedding or trip. Our guests are still raving about their week and there were more than a few tears on the day we left. If you would like additional information on the resort, or advice on how the wedding planning went, please feel free to email us at daisy22@telus.net. Treat yourself - go to the RIU Palace Mexico.

11 Thank BubbasMom74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
28 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 November 2004

Visited the Playa del Carmen area for the 2nd time the week of Nov. 14th. First time at the Riu Palace.
We were very impressed with the grounds and the service. The food was excellent as well with plenty of variety at each meal. Room was quite comfortable. The beach is fantastic although quite a walk from the hotel. Very nice pool area. Pool was a bit cool for our tastes, could use heating a bit. Visited Xel-Ha and Tulum. Both were worth the trip. We had great weather and an equally great time. We will be back! We appreciated all the reviews we had read before going. Very helpful!

3 Thank tulumfans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 November 2004

My husband and I just returned from Rui Palace, Playa del Carmen after a week vacation. It was our first time in All Inclusive. Overall it was a wonderful vacation. Our room was great and on the quiet side of the building. The beach is awesome! Weather was pretty good most of the time. The hotel and the grounds are beautiful, clean, manicured. People are working very hard to keep it clean like that. The food was not what we're expected. The buffet was O'K from the beginning but after 3 days it was the same old thing all the time. But if you want to make a reservation to another restaurant, you have to be at the buffet at 7am and stay in line for 10-20 minutes. If you are late, the best you can get is 9pm dinner which is not acceptable to us. So, you have to eat at the boring buffet again or take a taxi ($4 each way) to the nearby shopping center and pay for a great dinner. We were lucky to make a reservation to "Brazilian" restaurant - but their meat was below average. Also we went twice to Sir Edwards - French restaurant - a nice formal dining, great food. Have to admit that service is fantastic, no matter where you go, you're been treated like gold. Another disappointement was an entertainment. We went to many cruises before and have been spoiled by professional entertainments. Don't expect anything really professional at Riu Palace. But you can always take a taxi and go elsewhere. Once we went snorkling to Cozumel - awesome experience!. But if you want to save money don't do a reservation with people who approach you on the beach. We saved about $60 for two to go on our own. Ferry to Cozumel is $16 round trip per person plus $25/person on the glass bottom boat (they are all right at the ferry station and have everything you need for snorkeling). Company on the beach charge you $75/person for the same thing.
Overall it was a great vacation experience but I don't think we're going back there again anytime soon.

4 Thank Irinar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 19 November 2004

I just returned from my honeymoon in Playa. I can't say enough good things about the hotel or Playa itself. For starters the hotel is beautiful. The grounds are kept clean; rooms are restocked and freshened everyday, you feel like you’re in paradise. The people who worked there were so nice and ready to help you with anything you needed. When we first arrived at the hotel my new husband and I was put into a room that backed up to a stage wall and the noise was horrendous. Normally that would have been ok but it was just not the kind of atmosphere we wanted for our honeymoon. When we brought this to the attention of the front desk they moved us right away with no problems. That was the last time we had any complaints about the week. The buffet food is good as long as you don't go expecting it to be five star dining. However the restaurants that weren’t buffets were excellent. The beach was absolutely beautiful my pictures will never do it justice. My husband and I would eat breakfast and lunch at the hotel and then go to Fifth Ave (about a two-minute cab ride) for dinner. Fifth Ave had everything from Italian to authentic Mexican dining, bars and shops. I could go on and on about everything but the bottom line is if you are considering going to Mexico and looking at the hotels. Stay at Riu Palace you can't go wrong. One last note though..... If you are on your honeymoon and want to be treated special by the hotel staff and the locals don't go to Playa everybody there is honeymooning..... :0)

6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Croston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2004

Having read so many reviews on the Riu Palace before arriving on the 1st of November for 2 weeks we felt obliged to submit a review on our return. Last year at the last minute we chose to visit Mexico as there aren’t many areas to visit in Europe in November that can provide guaranteed sunshine. We stayed at the Riu Yucatan, which is situated next door to the Riu Palace both of which have direct access to the beach. We had no complaints at the 4* Yucatan, the standard of service is very good, the rooms are very comfortable and the place is exceptionally clean. Based on this we could only assume the standard at the 5* Riu Palace could only be better and this was proven to be the case. The service in the hotel is to an exceptionally high standard and all the staff are always eager to please. The place is cleaned continuously and the grounds are maintained to a very high standard. Our room number was 1091 which was of a good size and very comfortable including a separate seating area for TV viewing although the sofa was not very comfortable. We ate at Don Julian’s (the main buffet) each night and found the food to be of a high standard with plenty of variation for different tastes. The main buffet at lunchtime is also very good with a much wider range of food than the restaurants down near the beach. The service at all the bars is exceptional and the range of drinks wide and varied although if you want the better known brands of spirits you have to specifically ask for them. Champagne is available, you must try a Kir Royale, which is a cocktail of Champagne and Cassis (excellent). There are a few minor things that the Riu management need to improve: - the Jacuzzi near the swimming pool needs refurbishing, $40 for losing a beach towel is ridiculous, more English TV channels would be good and a smiling senior management team wouldn’t go amiss. Although you don’t need to tip we took about $100 and gave tips over the course of our 2 week break to the staff that gave good service, after all they aren’t paid a fortune. In summary if you want a quiet, relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings with high standards of service then the Riu Palace is the place to go.

P.S. When I say quiet this is with the exception of one or two of our American friends who tend to get on the noisy side especially when playing games or drinking a little too much.

Have a great time. We may even meet the next time we visit which I am sure won’t be too far in the future.

  • Stayed November 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank normanforshaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2004

My wife and I spent our 1 week honeymoon at the Palace from Oct 25th to Nov 1st. We flew Skyservice from Toronto Ontario through Sunquest Vacations. Going through a travel company representative is definitely the way to go. Once you arrive at the Cancun airport, you simply look for your representative holding a sign and they take your luggage to the bus that is designated at dropping you off at your resort. Upon departure, your representative will be waiting for you in the lobby and they take you back to the airport. During the bus ride to the Palace, they will inform you of the things to do and what to stay away from while drinking on some Corona's. I think this is much better than flagging down and paying for a taxi.
The resort itself is amazing. Take lots of pictures because this is a place that you will surely want to visit again in your lifetime. The grounds and beach are immaculate and the food was much better than I expected. We preferred to eat at Don Julians (the main buffet) for most of the trip because they have a great variety and it is good! We also tried Sir Edwards one night and that was nice break from the buffet. Be prepared to eat alot at this place. The rooms are nice and the maids visit each room twice a day. Once in the morning and then again at night for turn-down service. We tipped the maid everyday and got a fancy animal or person made from towels on our bed. Although there are many trips or excursions offered, my wife and I preferred to stay on the resort and relax! Most days were spent on the beach or around the pool suntanning and we did go to Playa Del Carman one day for some shopping. It is a $4 taxi ride to the city. We also took the ferry over to Cozumel one day. All staff, including maids, bartenders, waiters and front desk were excellent and very accomodating. They treat you very good at this resort. If you are looking for a beautiful resort and a relaxing time, the Riu Palace is #1 on our list so far. Have fun!

  • Stayed October 2003
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5 Thank yackee
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
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
#23 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 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. 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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