I took my girlfriend here for one week for her birthday. The property is visually stunning! The staff is excellent, friendly, courteous and constantly looking to make your stay a pleasant one.
As others stated, at first glance you know that you're staying in the right place, the gated Playacar community; lovely, well manicured and modern homes.
At first glance the Riu Palace Riviera Maya is a sight to behold; spacious lobby decorated in the tradition of majestic hotels such as The Plaza, in NYC. The one thing that hits you almost immediately, however is the musty smell. I'm not saying that this is a deal-breaker by a long shot. Look, you know the area that you're in is tropical, humid all year round, and doors are usually wide open, so lets get that out of the way up front, there is a funk, especially towards the bar area of the lobby. Going outside, the lavish palm tree lined courtyard, with its several long pool-like fountains that lead up to the pool area is beautiful, and great for taking pictures.
Our Jr. Suite was exactly that; nicely designed with a sunken "living-room" like area leading to the balcony. Over the nicely stocked refrigerator was a four bottle booze dispenser (ahhh, mas tequila). We could have gotten an "upgrade to another Jr Suite with "Garden View", as our room (126) was facing the neighboring property, but we decided that since it was quiet at night, we'd be happier staying put, so we did. The room was clean, but there was a musty smell when sitting on the couch, so we avoided that (a can of Lysol would be a great idea to give to housekeeping). Best advice, keep the A.C. on at all times on high with ceiling fan on and you will be comfortable. At night (at least in November) fan off is fine.
The beach and pool area is really where the property hits it on all marks! From the well groomed sandy beach, with its palm trees, lounge chairs and hammocks to the large pool with a great swim-up bar! when the rain stopped (it was, after all, the tail end of rainy season, and it did rain quite a bit... we got our share of sun though, not to worry) this area sprung to life! Lets talk a moment about the beach in Playacar; Turquoise water, white sand and the aforementioned palm trees... just beautiful!
We went on one full day excursion to Chichen Itza to see the Mayan ruins, YOU MUST DO THIS! Yes, its a full day, they pick you up in a nice tour bus @7:30am, and you get back @8:30pm, its @2 1/2 hours each way. Well worth the trip; the tour guides where both informative and entertaining, very friendly. Mid-day you go to a Mayan village for lunch, the food was amazing! Great way to spend a day off-site.
We traveled through Apple Tours, and they have a representative (as do other agencies) in the lobby of the hotel to assist you in every way, from planing excursions to helping you keep your travel plans in order. We got a great all inclusive deal with Apple, highly recommend them!
The meals at the hotel were fine, we did the Steakhouse and the Brazilian as our "ala cart" meals and enjoyed both. The buffets are fine, not "four star", but you will find very good things to eat as you go. The service is excellent all around.
We found that the age range did lean towards an "older" demographic, but there was a good mix of 20's-60's (also keep in mind this is "off season", kids are in school).
We decided to skip the shows at night to do our own thing, but we knew the staff was working hard to keep everyone happy.
The hotels proximity to the 5th Avenue shopping area is maybe a 15-20 minute walk, a $7 (USD) taxi ride for bad weather. 5th Ave is basically what you would expect a "main street" vacation area; only a LOT more aggressive shop keepers who want you to buy their wares. You really have to be alert & aware when walking 5th Ave, you will be approached by everyone from people trying to sucker you in to a timeshare tour, to less than quality "silver" (plated) jewelry. Remember, once you make eye contact, it's your own fault....
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Palace Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Riu Riviera Maya
- Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya Mexico - Playa Del Carmen