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“Highlights and Lowdown of Riu Palace Mexico” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Mexico

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Hotel Riu Palace Mexico
Ranked #26 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Dallas, Texas, USA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Highlights and Lowdown of Riu Palace Mexico”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2010

Basis of comparison: Our stay was for 7-nights, May 2-9, 2010. My wife and I
stayed in a standard room. We've been to the Riu Palace Mexico back in Nov.
We've been coming to Playa del Carmen or Playacar (the gated resort section
where the Riu Hotels are) for 13 years and have stayed at 6-7 other hotels.

Lobby: Elegant and clean! (See photo) Check-in desk staff was efficient and
helpful. Any problems (like needing more hangers, or another bottle of Rum)
were taken care of promptly (one call usually took care of problem).

Beach: Recently repaired: no more "beach whales" you may have heard of.
Beach is wide and deep. Only about 435 rooms worth of guests share a very
large beach area, compared to some other hotels 700-800 rooms' guests
sharing a smaller beach area. (Makes it less crowded). Beach is raked
several times a week, making the sand soft and powdery, and clean. There
has been some seasonal trimming of the front four rows of palm trees, so
that they don't offer much shade, but in the tropics plants grow back quickly.

Grounds: Very elegant! Well manicured and beautifully maintained. The
central fountains, and reflecting pond bordered by tall palm trees that runs
down the center of the resort, separating the two 3-story guest room wings
of the resort, are visually magnificent! (See photos.)

Rooms: spacious, with a step-down sitting area with loveseat, dresser, and
flat screen t.v. 10'-12' tall ceilings. Safes, ironing board, booze dispenser,
fridge with beer and pop, full size umbrellas are in every room. Each room
has its own a/c thermostat and ceiling fan. Bathrooms are adequate, but not
oversized (with tub). Toilet and bidet are in their own small room.

Food: the ala carte restaurants are attractive and the food is pretty good.......
particularly for meat eaters. There is Miyagi Japanese, Krystal Fusion, La
Bodega Brazillian (Meats!), and Steakhouse (El Patio during the day). The
Buffet (Don Julian), we found, offered a wonderful assortment of seafood,
pasta, meats, salads, soups, and desserts. We loved the variety of the
buffet so much that it was our favorite place to eat (serving till 10:30). For
the ala cartes there is a reservation system that starts at 8 a.m. (Ask about
it when you check in.) Buffet requires no reservations, but long pants, and
sleaved shirts are required at dinner (also true at ala cartes).

Bars: pretty wood-paneled lobby bar serves premium liquor until the early
morning hours. Nice wait staff. Pool bar (open til 6 p.m.) Beach bar (til 5 )

Pool: it's okay, but not as colorful, or as tropical as some of the other Riu
resorts' pools. There is reciprocity at any of the other Riu Resorts pools,
bars, or restaurants (EXCEPT not for dinner) Offered by Riu Palace only.

Gym: small, but has most popular machines (2 treadmills, some free
weights, stairclimber, exercise bikes.) Located next to spa near pool.

Entertainment: Evening shows in the lounge, and small bands with a
singer many nights in the gazebo/courtyard area outside of the lounge.

Kids: Riu Palace does have programs for little kids, but I have noticed
that the families that come here seem to have fewer children per
family than other resorts.

Guests: on our two visits here I noticed that most visitors are Europeans,
Canadians, Russians, Mexicans, Latin Americans, and about 15% U.S.
There are 35% 60-year-olds, 30% 40's, 25% in their 30's, & 10% 20/70's

Service: excellent. Workers are friendly (for the most part) and work very
hard for low wages. Small tips (a dollar or two) help them out a lot. .

Town visit: worth the 5-minute $5 cab ride (each way). 5th Avenue is a
pedestrian walkway lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and...salesmen
(some are a bit assertive...just smile and walk past those guys). Fun visit.

Hints: we take insulated 18-oz. drinking mugs (with tops) to keep our
beach beer and drinks COLD. Mini-umbrellas also protect against
unexpected tropical showers. We also take medical aids (immodium,
bandaids,aspirin, insecticide, etc) to save the expense and hassle of a
doctors visit ($120) for something minor. We hope you enjoy the photos
and find that this review was helpful.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Lazyreader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
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  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2010

Riu Palace Mexico was fantastic. The beach is huge, there are plenty of chairs and it was groomed daily while we were there (April 28th 2010 to May 5th 2010). It was very windy on several of the days we were there, so we also spent some time at the pool, which is also very nice. It is accurate that there are no stairs in the pool, only ladders, but I only noticed that after it was pointed out in a review I read upon returning. The pool was very clean while we were there. We spent time looking at the other Riu properties nearby, and both agreed that the Palace Mexcio is comparable in some ways and superior in others, but found nothing at the other properties that we like better.

The food was excellent for all meals. We tried the Japanese restaurant and enjoyed it. Some of the items were strong on cream cheese, but the food was very good. The Brazilian restaurant was also a very good experience, go into it expecting a lot of meat! The main buffet had a nice variety of quality food as well. We only had room service once, and it was palatable, but nothing special.

The facilities were all very clean and well maintained. Every morning I saw staff sweeping the walkways, washing the floors in the corridor and tending the grounds. The room was very clean and spacious, the only knock I had was that 2 double beds pushed together isn't quite the same as 1 king bed. That was most likely my fault based on the type of room I booked, but perhaps worth taking note of if you choose to stay here. The room had a nice sitting area, a tv that we never used, and a good sized balcony that looked out into the courtyard. The rooms were quiet and comfortable. I had read several reviews saying the beds were too hard, but I did not find that to be the case at all, I personally found them quite comfortable.

The staff was wonderful and always attentive. I did choose to tip in some instances, but never felt obligated. Many other guest did not tip, and the staff never appeared to treat them poorly.

A couple things we did pick up while we were there that could help enhance your stay; First the hotel bar uses very small glasses, however we did see several other patrons swim up to the bar with larger glasses (they had brought from town or someplace) and the staff cheerfully filled them. Next, by default the mixed drinks are very light on alcohol. We found this to be the case at the 4 resorts we visited, but if you order a double, they come out to be about what a normal drink would be stateside. And lastly, a little tip money goes a long way. The day we spent drinking at the pool I think I tipped the waiter about $30 over the course of 6 hours (it was our last day and I was probably being over generous having run out of 1's!) Even so, I've NEVER had such great service before. That guy was very friendly and funny, he was constantly checking back on us, every time a glass was empty he was right there to take it away and bring back another one (or a couple if he decided it was 'Happy Hour')

All in all, the biggest complaint I can come up with it 'the glasses are too little' which says to me I'm really stretching to find something to complain about.

  • Stayed May 2010, 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 AndrewBrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 May 2010

Mike and I had a outstanding time! Food was great and service was Outstanding!
The only problem was one night when the mosquitoes attacked the Steak House.
The staff did a great job in taking care of the problem.
It had one of the longest beaches I have been to. The beach was great and a great place to look for conch shells. Best Day is great contact for you in getting around Mexico.
We will be back next year!

  • Stayed April 2010, 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?
Thank twalt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barton On Humber
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2010

This hotel was booked to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary - after check in we were shown to our room with a Queen Size bed and a very large private balcony which overlooked the outside entertainment area. The hotel staff were professional in every way and nothing was too much trouble for them - including cocktail delivery service on the beach to the bed turn down service every evening. The bar staff were absolutely wonderful especially if you are brave enough to try speaking Spanish.
Try the Casino night at the hotel it is great fun, and the Michael Jackson show was really good.
We got good exchange rates at the hotel.The best part is that you can use all the other Riu Hotels in the area except for evening meal and breakfast.
The Carribean Sea was absolutely wonderful and when we relaxed we used the beach instead of the pool area, I found that the motor sports were expensive compared with the Mediteranian 36 Pounds for Parascending behind a boat - they tell tou it is for half an hour but when timed you are lucky to get 8 minutes.
We went to Chichen Itza to see the newest 7th wonder of the world and enroute I swam in a Ceynote (Mexican Sink Hole - a natural access point to an underground river 90foot diameter x 150foot deep), on another trip we visited Xhel- Ha which is a natural water park,however, we were not advised to take extra money with us if wanted to swim with Dolphins ranging from 99 Dollars to 150 Dollars. Manitees or the diving bell - these were all extra. It is a great day out - best trip we have been on so far good for children and adults - and we would certainly do it again.
We used to walk into PlayaCar along the road approx 30mins and walk back along the beach, by Taxi it is 5 Dollars or 50 Peso's (Peso's is cheaper than Dollars).
We were also advised to change money for Peso's (Not Dollars)
If you walk into a shop the general rule of thumb is not to haggle, however, if you are invited in to the shop expect to haggle to pay roughly half of the price on the label.
We took ourselves to Cozumel Island by ferry for £14 each return, however, it is much like Playacar.

Would we go back - Yes
The worst thing with Mexico is the extortionate departure tax £38.00 per person

  • Stayed April 2010, 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?
2 Thank honest_stu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. John's, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2010

Stayed at the Riu Palace Mexico with friends from Apr.19th-26th. Beautiful resort with an awesome beach.Service was seond to none. Always somebody cleaning up or planting flowers. Great variety of food , especially the Don Julian Restaurante ( this was my favorite). I am not a picky eater, but found the speciality restaurants to use way too much salt in their food.( made me drink more I guess). No problem getting alcohol in our drinks( even the premium brands, all you have to do is ask for it). We all felt very safe when we visited the town square ( huge flea market there). Do not be afraid to barter with the locals.My wife got some good bargains. The weather was absolutely beautiful.2 days hit the mid 40's. At one point while in the pool, I said to my wife" this is just like being home in the bathtub ( so hot!).
We booked an excursion to swim with sea turtles and were not disappointed!. Akumal Bay was beautiful. I personally do not visit the same resrt twice as their are so many to see. I think that my next stop with be the island of Jamaica, St Kitts/ St Nevis Barbados.... the list goes on and on !!!!!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank GMUNY55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orlando, FL
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2010

First time ever going to an all inclusive and if they are all like Riu Palace Mexico, I will not go back. My GF and are both 30 and were looking to go have a nice beach vacation mixed in with drinks and good food. While the hotel grounds and staff are very nice, the food, drinks, entertainment and bars were not what was expected. You are limited to 2 beers on property and each bar only has one of those to choose from. The Pool bar served Dos Equis, which normally i lliked, but here it tasted awful. They serve it in 6 0z glasses, and the foul odor it possesed made it difficult to drink. the mixed drinks aren't much better. Zero alcohol, and again served in 6oz glasses.

The food was just down right bad. The breakfast buffet was good, but that is hard to screw. The Steakhouse, Fusion and Brazillian restaurant were all under par. Food is below the quality of applebees to give you a bench mark. The food was so bad i just gave up eating it and headed down to the City to eat.

Also the room service was gross

The city of Playa Del Carmen was lots of fun, and if I ever go back there, i will forgoe the all inclusive plan so i can enjoy the good food and drinks there.

Maybe all inclusives are like this, i don't know. If you are a younger couple looking for drinks and fun skip the Riu Palace.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank fsupilam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peoria, IL
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 April 2010

I'm writing this report to provide tips to other travelers. I am not writing a diary, just information that others will hopefully find useful.

Hotel in St. Louis:
I booked a hotel for the night before our flight at parksleepfly.com. The Ramada Inn Airport at 4545 Lindberg was $68 for one night and up to 14 days parking. Directions given by google maps were incorrect and took us to a completely different Ramada. However the desk worker at the wrong Ramada was very nice and gave good directions to the right one. I suggest if you stay here, call ahead for directions. This Ramada was not as nice as I would have expected for a Ramada. However the shuttle was a convenient 5 min ride and left every half-hour on the hour and half-hour. I was happy to save the approx. $40 more it would have cost to stay at a nicer hotel.

Outbound Flight: direct flight STL to CUN on Aeromexico (charter through Funjet). Flight departed 730; so we arrived at STL 5am. Short line at checkin. There is a Starbucks and a bagel place after security. No charge for up to 2 checked bags each. Received free lunch box with croissant, swiss cheese, turkey and bag of potato chips. Website said no free booze til after 11 am but was happy to see free soda, coffee, juice, beer, rum. In fact, when we finished our beers, I requested another and the flight attendant returned with another round - and he would not even accept the tip I offered! Now THAT is service.

Transportation to Riu: We used the included transportation by Funjet provided through Lomas Travel. We met another couple who had paid extra for "direct, private, no-wait" transportation but they waited just as long as we did. I would not recommend "upgrading". the free included travel was nice. About 1 hr to Riu Palace from the Cancun airport. Driver offered beer at 2 for $5 in the van.

Riu Palace Mexico:
SERVICE - Service was spectatular. Any time your drink was half full, there was a waiter asking to get you something. They were constantly asking if everything was OK or if we needed anything. They even delivered drinks around the pool and sometimes on the beach. Service in all restaurants was top-notch.

FOOD - Food was very good. Favorite restuarant was the Krystal "Fusion" restaurant, but we ate at all of them and all were very good including the buffet. We also liked the nachos that room service would deliver for free.

EXCURSIONS - We went scuba diving in town with Mexico Blue Dream - booked online ahead of time. Scuba diving was a great once-in-a-lifetime experience. The team at MBD made us feel very comfortable. We did the "Discover Scuba" one-day course. We also booked through Lomas Travel the Xel-Ha excursion, which was very good also. You travel ~45 min to Xel-Ha, where you can snorkel in their huge lagoon and see many fish. They have a lazy river that you can float down, rope swings, cliff diving, all you can eat and drink. We paid $99 per person including transportation. I thought it was well worth it.

ROOM - The room was nice, clean, cool and comfortable. The bed was two beds pushed together but that did not really bother us. There were free beer and booze in the room.

BEACH - The beach was very nice. Huge, clean, plenty of chairs at all times. There were even hammocks to relax in.

POOL - The pool was OK. The pool at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya was nicer.

***TRAVEL TIPS***

1. Bring an insulated mug if you like to drink. We brought 34 oz "Bubba Kegs" that you can get at Wal-Mart. They are awesome. The staff will fill up your mug with beer or mixed drinks and you don't have to continually go back to the bar for each drink. These insulated mugs keep your drinks cold and are great for in the pool or walking the beach. They are a must!

2. Make dinner reservations early! Find out what time the dinner reservations are being taken and get there 15 minutes prior to get in line. It's a little bit of a pain to make reservations each day, but the restaurants are worth it. When you check in on the first day, you can ask at the front desk if they have any reservations available for that evening. If there are open seats they will give you a reservation.

3. Take advantage of Riu Palace Riviera Maya pool. The RPRM is a short walk down the beach, and their pool is really nice. We also went there several evenings to meet friends and watch the show. If your feet are sore and you don't want to walk back, the cab ride is $3-$5 back to RPM. Apparently $5 is the minimum fare but we offered $3 and cab drivers were willing to take us the short distance.

4. Do not buy tequila or vanilla at the shopping center nearby with Starbucks. I found both for cheaper at the duty free store in the airport. And you don't have to carry it around all week.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 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?
4 Thank tknitez
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
#19 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#21 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#21 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???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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