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“Started out rough but ended nicely....”

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Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Ranked #40 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Ticonderoga, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Started out rough but ended nicely....”
Reviewed 23 February 2009

We take a trip to an all inclusive resort in Feb. every year. I got married at the Riu Cancun in 2005 but we have not been back to a Riu resort since. Not because we didn't have a great experience but we like to try new places. We arrived late Friday nigh at the RPRMt and recieve rooms that our group was not together or even on the same floor, our rooms were facing another resort and they put us in heavily smoked in rooms. I cleary stated to the public relations clerk previous to arrival that under NO circumstances can we have a smoking room because my husband is really allergic. When we went back to the front desk we were told they were booked, nothing they could do, come back in the AM and change my rooms.... Needless to say, my husband pretty much slept on the balcony, two minutes into the room and his head was clogged. We went back in the AM and they changed our rooms and this time we were right next door to one another and had non-smoking rooms:) The rooms are adequate but nothing special but how long are you in your room?
Okay here is the good.... The beach was beautiful, I didn't mind the sand bags as others have criticized. It actually created little lagoons to wade in. Plenty of chairs at the beach but get one early by the pool. The pool was a great temp not too cool and refreshing. The food was great. The buffet Don Manolos was awesome, tons of selection, lines were none existent. Lunch by the beach at Chilis was nice as well. Chilis is also the steakhouse at night and that was really good too. The Japanese was great but DO NOT WASTE your time at the Brazilian.... YUCK. We left and went to the buffet afterwards. The bars were efficient and Marvin at the pool is Awesome. By the end of my stay, he had my drink ready for me before I even got to the bar. There is service by the pool which was good as well. By the restaurants, you can sit out at night and there is a band playing in the gazebo,the nightly shows were mediocre at best but entertaining.
The location is good, about 5 minute cab ride to 5th ave. and 20 minutes if you walk. Overall, the experience was great.. The service was probably the best at out any resort I have been to. Even though we had a rough start it ended up being a great experience. I would return and recommend it. If you have any questions, email me... I can fill you in.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with family
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10 Thank tarazan33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Cochrane
Level Contributor
84 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2009

We stayed at this Riu resort from Jan 28 - Feb 11 and enjoyed ourselves, however, we would likely not return to this resort considering the overwhelming choices of all inclusive resorts in this area.

FOOD - Very good with always an excellent variety. We only ate at 2 of the a la carte restaurants as it was very difficult to make it to the hotel lobby between noon and 3. The Brazilian restaurant was not very good. Chili's was better but nothing could beat the overall choices and accessiblity of the main buffet.

POOL - Swim up bar was nice feature. The pool was quite cool and not very large considering other resorts we have stayed at. Plenty of loungers, but to get a spot in the sun did require "saving" a seat.

ROOMS - Clean and well kept. We were in two rooms, the first on the main floor and then the 2nd. We did find cockroaches in our main floor room every day. Friends we were travelling with, who remained on the main floor during the entire 2 weeks, had roaches in their suitcases, in their books, clothes, hats etc. They were in room 0040.

We moved to 2049 and had an excellent view of the pool and ocean - and no bugs!

The rooms are a decent size. But the bathrooms could use a little reworking. The toilet sits right behind the door. The shower/tub is almost too high to step into, likely a challenge to folks of shorter stature.

No in room internet - that is a deal breaker for us when we travel. We will not book any resort in the future without in room internet access.

OCEAN - The beach has been severly eroaded by past hurricanes, but this beach appears to have survived in the best shape. The sand whales do seem to be doing the their job, but create hazards on their own. Out of the 2 weeks, only one day was yellow flag. On nearly every red flag day, the lifeguards had to rescue people who had ventured too far past the whales and were endangered of drowning.

The resort is in easy walking distance to Playa del Carmen for great shopping and eating. Be sure to watch the sidewalks as they are very uneven and present tripping hazards.

We went to Cozumel - warning to those prone to seasickness - take your Dramamine or Gravol. The ferry bounces and rolls for the entire trip. I nicknamed it the "vomit comet" considering that 1 of 5 passengers spent the trip with their heads in the bags provided by the ferry staff. Trip back was no better.

If you are inclined, there is an awesome caving adventure that is quite new. Rio Secreto - it's 10 mins by taxi from the resort. What an incredible trip - it's an entirely underground river system that you walk, swim, crawl, scoot and crouch to get through. You are outfitted with wetsuits, life vests, helmets and lights - and you need them all. The cave surfaces are incredibly sharp. There are no lights or overhead openings, so if your headlamp isn't working, get it replaced. This is an adventure for those of decent physical fitness and not appropriate for those with claustrophobia. To exit the caves, you will be walking on your hands, floating your legs and bumping your head. But what an experience.

The resort does not compare to Majestic Colonel in Punta Cana, facilities, room or beach. However, food, service and access to town certainly would set this resort aside from other 4 star rated resorts.

Not a 5 star, I'd give it 4.2 because of beach (not their fault). But when you are travelling great distance to park on lounger, all resorts in this area would be disappointing.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank WanderlustCochrane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2009

We just got back from a week of bliss! Before the trip, we read the reviews and felt ready for OK food and great service, but instead we got so much more. The place is far more beautiful & impressive than the pictures online and the food was delicious! We arrived quite late on Valentine's Day. It was after eight yet the front desk help were all smiles and handed us a much needed cold drink! We were quickly checked in. We got such a good price on this trip that we weren't expecting much with the room. The rooms are large with a living area and bed area. The bathrooms are huge. Our room faced a well groomed garden area. It was peaceful. We spent many an evening and morning relaxing on our deck. An ocean view would have cost so much more and we were happy with our quiet room. We enjoyed the pool and the beach. We never had trouble finding chairs. The entertainment crew kept everyone busy with activites. We also ate at each of the specialty restaurants except the brazilian. Each one has a theme. Chili's is a steak place on the beach. Norman at Chili's kept us laughing. My lobster was very flavorful. Don't expect a US steak, Mexican steak is not the same. The Japanese was a big surprise. All of the food tasted very well, except for the soy sauce. My favorite was the new Krystal fusion place. It was a true dining experience. Each course was a presentation. My sea bass was tasty and fresh! We also spent time in the sport bar playing pool and such. There are five other RIU properties within the Playacar area. You can walk to each and eat or hang out, but the prettiest is this one. We worked out one morning in the gym. There were two treadmills and a couple of bikes (not a whole lot!) so we ran in the mornings around the loop of Playacar. Also, Playa Del Carmen was a five minute walk from the hotel. We went one night into town for shopping and dinner. Another day we took the ferry over to Cozmel and spent the day on the beach snorkeling and eating, yum. The water was lovely. We also rented a car and drove to the ruins of Chichen Itza. It is easily a three hour drive there and a three hour drive back. The rental "guy" told us it was only one road to get there, not true! We had a tiny map to go by and after a few turns and round abouts, we arrived at the ruins. The ruins are amazing and very interesting to see up close. They no longer allow you to climb up the ruins, however they are very interesting to see. Yet, I loved the ride along the way because you see so much of the real Mexico. If you are brave, do it but get a detailed map! On the way back to our hotel from the ruins we took a ride futher south by Tulum (another ruin you shouldn't miss)! There is a quirky restaruant called Zamas right on the beach that you have to see at sunset! You sit under a thatched roof and watch the waves crash nearby. They have music there, as well. But the most incredible sight is when you walk back to your car from the restaurant. Look up at the sky and you will see billions of stars. Wonderful! As you can see, the trip was fabulous and I can't say enough about the RIU. You would have to work hard to have a bad time (as many people do!).

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
12 Thank L_N_M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2009

My family and I spent five days at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya. The place is spectacular. From cleanliness, to service to outstanding cuisine, it's virtually impossible to find a bad thing to say about this resort. And this comes from a very nitpicky traveler. If you're looking for a relaxing, luxurious resort, then this is for you. It's not too crazy and not too laid back, The entertainment at the pool is perfect without being obnoxious. I found it to be just right. We brought our 8 and 6 year olds, and they always found something to do. The resort isn't crowded with too many kids, and I did'nt mind that at all. The service is wonderful, especially at the bars. The one thing that stood out for me was the food. I've traveled in Mexico numerously and always found the food to be medeocre, The food at the Riu Palace was superb. If you're not into buffets, you are going to love theirs. From fresh fruit smoothies, made to order as you watch, to beautiful presentations, you will be overwhelmed with choices, one more delicious than the next. The specialty restaurants were just as delicious, especially the French Restaurant. I think the Riu Palace has gotten just right. We were in a group of nine, and none of us wanted to leave at the end of our stay. Worth every penny!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank jlhkm5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Midwest
Level Contributor
163 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2009

This was our first all-inclusive vacation and we based our location in part on the many great reviews located here. The location of the hotel is absolutely awesome. The pool area is very nice (although pool was chilly) and the beach area -- with one section shaded with palm trees and the other directly on the beach -- was awesome. Beach chairs were plentiful. While I did request a King bed via e-mail, we ended up with the two fulls pushed together : (

We did the buffet every evening and were quite pleased with the variety and quality. Service was excellent -- sit in Piste's section if you can. He will treat you first-class.

The hotel itself is impressively decorated. Our room was more than sufficient with a separate "living" area -- I think the hotel may be all "suites".

Only downer of the trip was of my own doing -- cutting my hand on a broken glass and going to the Hospiten. But they took care of me with 4 stitches and a positive experience with the Mexican health care system (4 stitches did cost $920). Unfortunately, even though we told the front desk to have the glass and liquid cleaned up from the room, it was only partially removed.

In conclusion, this is a top notch hotel and a great place to relax and get away. We loved the all-inclusive and will look forward to another RIU experience in 2010.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank MidwestLiketoTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burlington, IA
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2009

We stayed at the Palace from Jan 18-23, we were suppose to stay at the Yucatan, but they upgraded us to the Palace......
24 hr roomservice (the menu is limited) but it was good
Food excellent everywhere, we have been every year for 6 years to Mexico and The Dominica Republic and the food was the best here of anywhere......
The weather was perfect and so was the resort.......

I have no complaints at all~~~ please feel free to email me if you have any questions........

One thing I want to add about the shopping in general in downtown Playa is if you go shopping there, they will automatically take you to 5th ave, if you notice on the way there, there is a couple shops on the street right before they drop you off, go back and shop there first, We found things much cheaper there, they said it was because they don't have to pay a fee for being a "downtown shop"
they have 2 shirts that were 4 for $10 , the same shirts were $17.99 downtown.... There is also a store called Jelly something and they sell Gourds that are made into lights, they are so much cheaper here then downtown I got 4 of them for around $60.00 usd and they wanted that much for 2 downtown, HOWEVER CAUTION, if you buy from here ~please watch them when they pack your gourds because 2 of mine were hanging light gourds and they sent the electric cords with them that were unfinished... so please use caution there.....

The only negative I have is that the pool water was freezing (the only people that were in there besides my daughter had wetsuits on)!!!!

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank 7asprinter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2009

Overall I thought that the Rui Palace was a 10 until it came to the rooms,The musty smell that was in our first room was absolutely horrible. The location could not have been nicer but we couldn't stay in that room and had to move with a little bit of trouble. The second room was a little better but the minute we put the air condition on we would get the musty smell. We had to just use the ceiling fan at all times which was hard to cool the room down after we took our showers for the day. We went so far as showering at the spa so we wouldn't heat up our room. I think they have a problem with the air ducts or maybe they need to be cleaned well. I would expect thta from a basement but notin a fairly new resort. I don't think I would stay at a Rui resort .

  • Stayed November 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank barbmass
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 Riviera Maya

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Address: Av Xaman-Ha Mza 9 y 10 Lote 1 Int.Fracc. | Fase II Solidaridad, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#21 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#29 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#29 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#31 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya 4*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* The hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya is located directly on the white, sandy beach of the Playacar residential estate, along with the Riu Palace Mexico, Playacar, Riu Yucatan and the ClubHotel Riu Tequila hotels. The 400 spacious and elegant junior suites are set in the 3-storey main building, with its delightful architectural style and surrounded by extensive tropical gardens. * Next Village / Location Playa del Carmen 2.0 km approx. * Next City Cancún 60.0 km approx. * Airport Cancún International Airport (CUN) 55.0 km approx. * Main Building 3 floors 400 rooms * Accepted Credit Cards: MasterCard, Visa ... more   less 
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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

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