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“Not what I expected.”

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Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Ranked #38 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
San Antonio,Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Not what I expected.”
Reviewed 22 March 2010

I have stayed in Playa,Cancun and Cabo alot.Mostly at adult only resorts but a few family resorts.The rooms have always been decent in size.I was dissapointed when I saw how small the room was (junior suite)for a family of 3.The two double beds pushed together were considered a King size bed and a very small step down sitting area with a small couch that our travel agent told us made out into a bed for our son but it did not.My husband,myself and our 11 year old son all slept in the same bed.Since it was spring break it was very noisy around 2-3am(which I expected could happen).If all that is not enough to disrupt my sleep...the maids begin talking very loud in the hallways around 7:30am since the hotel is all tile it is very loud! I wish I would have booked at the Iberostar. Still trying to catch up on sleep!!

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank izzy0214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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ajb288
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2010

I recently traveled to Playa del Carmen for the first time and stayed at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya from March 4th - 10th. I've never stayed at an all-inclusive before and really wasn't sure what to expect.

Travel there - Although I managed not to have printed out the shuttle pass, we did find our shuttle once we went through the Cancun airport. That was probably the worst part of the trip - I think a lot of planes landed at the same time in Cancun and the airport was a mad-house. It took us an hour and a half to get through customs/immigration and then we had to wait for almost a half hour for the shuttle to pick up passengers at our terminal and another one. So although we landed around 11:30am...we did not get to the hotel until after 3pm...so that cut our first day a bit shorter.

As far as the food and accommodations - we stayed in a garden view room which was nice because it was quiet as it faced away from the main courtyard and the balcony was a little more private. The food was really plentiful and had many options for breakfast and lunch. We ate breakfast each day at Don Manolo and we at lunch at Chili's (not the same as the American chain) when we were there for the day. Breakfast was always great...lunch varied but the salad bar was always fresh and I ate a lot of guacamole and pico de gayo. For dinner - you had to make reservations at least 2 or 3 days in advance (which was kind of annoying because you could only do it between 12pm -3pm) for the more popular options (Krystal and Yashima). Krystal was good if you're into that modern fusion type restaurant and Japanese was good. I wasn't a fan of the Brazilian steak house - the Yucatan does not have great beef - so keep that in mind. The Mexican Restaurant was really good...and usually there was always room for a reservation there even on the same day. Definitely ask for the Mayan coffee...you won't be disappointed.

Excursions - I'm not sure if this is the same for everyone but we booked our stay through RIU directly and were matched with Hotelbeds for our shuttle and for our local guide to explain things we could do outside of the resort. It's hard to say if we really got the best value for what we did but we enjoyed both. We went on a 'Mayan Adventure' that took us snorkeling in 3 different locations...it was amazing...we went to a cove and saw sea turtles and sting rays...we then went to cenotes and went zip-lining and then we went to an enclosed cenotes which was a cave and got to see stalactites and stalagmites...in all places the water was crystal clear and calm. The whole trip included lunch (which was yummy), transportation and the snorkeling gear...we left at 8am and were back by 2pm...for $86 USD per person. The 2nd excursion we went on was to Coba and the Mayan village...this was a much longer day trip than we were expecting but overall the trip was amazing. We climbed Nohoch Mul and had a great view from the top. We also stopped at an actual Mayan village to see how their descendants live today. It was a great experience.

We also walked to the town of Playa del Carmen one afternoon/evening...it's just about a mile away and easily walkable. You can definitely get hustled for just about anything along 5th Ave but there is a lot of entertainment, food and shopping. I never felt unsafe as there were lots of people around and we stopped for cervesas and queso and listened to some live music. It was great and authentic for the most part.

If you want to experience some Mexican culture then you will definitely have to leave the resort. The resort itself is very 'Americanized' in my opinion. The evening shows were a bit corny. The service was great overall...all of the staff were very friendly...and you even had a chance to use some Spanish if you wanted to...although not at all required. I would recommend this for anyone who has never been to an all inclusive as a way to start...I think as I travel more I might have more opinions on expectations. Really..all I was looking to get out of my vacation was time in the sun (which I definitely did), drink some fruity/beachy cocktails, not check email and forget what day it was...and I succeeded. This is not a nightlife-type of place...the crowd tends to be a bit older...which was fine by me...I was looking to stay as far away from the college-drinkers.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank ajb288
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukee
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2010

We visited the property the last week in January and really liked it. This was our 4th RIU Palace experience (Cabo, Aruba, Cancun) so we knew what to expect. We were very happy with our resort selection-it was close to Playa, same great restaurants we've been spoiled with and impeccable service. We love, love, LOVE the Mexican hospitality!

The resort and beach are absolutely perfect.

We visited all of the other RIU properties this time around, which I would highly reccommend. They are all just a bit different and offer their own charm, but, we were really happy we chose the RPRM and will definately go back!

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Gottatravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new jersey
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 March 2010

just got back 7 days with my wife/and parents (68-70)....excellent resort 1st class all the way from the pools,beach ,resort grounds all real nice....try to request top floor for better views espically closer to the ocean(ex rm.2114)geat view ....as far as beer all they have is dossequis ----but anykind of mix drink they will make it...service and the people are amazing (romone-islas-marvin all like family..)restaurants are a hassle trying to book because all the good ones are taken---the buffet is awesome but it would have been nice to try some restaurants....playa del carmen shopping is a waste too many people haggling you/not very nice either- go to playacar shopping alot nicer and cheaper...and you can walk their...good tip bring a big insulated mug for drinks because they give you a plastic 6oz. cup when you are at the pool or beach and your drink gets warm quick alot of people had mugs...good bands at night in courtyard and a show to follow everynight in theatre.....
the one major dissapointment was the amount of springbreakers that came in the last 3 days of our vacation(march 8-15)our agent told us this wiould not happen but it did....most of the groups had chaperones but they were noisey,getting sick,yelling shot-shot-shot all the time,,,all night...not the right place- go to cancun do not impose on families and older peolple trying to relax .......
overall outstanding place --bring plug ins for the musty smell..not that bad...enjoy

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mike O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westchester county, NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 March 2010

As the flagship, newest and most expensive Riu property in Playa del Carmen, our family, traveling with 2 young children, expected more. Other than the property itself and the large beach, which has been immaculately restored, there is simply nothing special about this Riu. It gives a typical cookie cutter all-inclusive experience. Don't get me wrong, the experience was good but when you figure that you pay a premium for this Riu over the other Rius and in comparison to other similarly priced properties in the area, it was underwhelming.
To give some background, this is my 4th time to this area. Our party consisted of 2 young children, 3 and 1 y.o, my wife, and the kids' grandparents.

To highlight some of the positives first:
Great location in Playacar- secluded but close to tourist area of 5th ave. Only a $5 dollar cab ride or 20 min walk.
Fantastic beach- easy to get a spot and quite large. Nice touch of having hammocks.
Property is remarkably clean.
Food is good. Nothing gourmet or great but for an AI- good. Decent variety at the buffet.
Pool is ok. Tough to get a good spot so wake up early but many AI are like this.

Some negatives:
Service is uneven. At times service was quick and attentive, other times expect to ask 4 times for a glass of water. Maid service uneven as well. At times, you got all the towels you needed, other times you were left without any hand towels and only 2 bath towels for 4 people. In general, staff here is hardworking but understaffed.
Room was a junior suite, but felt cramped. Again nothing nice about it. Asked for 2 double beds, so got a room with 2 doubles pushed together. They actually give the same room if you ask for a king bed as well. Again not the type of stuff you expect from a premium resort. Also no shampoo in the rooms- weird.
Food choices- here's one the major problem of the resort. Not much of variety of restaurant choices. For breakfast you get 1 place to eat. For lunch 1 place to eat. Dinner you get whatever rest. you can get or the buffet, and it has some ridiculous system for reservations.
Bars are ho-hum. Nothing nice here either. Yes they perform the basic service of dispensing drinks, but all bars are relatively small, nothing too special.
Not a family friendly resort. Kids club- yes they have one, is only open 10:30 to noon, and then 3-5 pm. Basically all they do is color and watch cartoons in spanish. Rest. have no kids' menus.
Entertainment is ok. If you have seen one of these shows, you have seen them all. Neither a positive nor negative.

Now I am being picky here. When you pay a premium over other resorts, you expect a higher level of service and amenities that are missing here. If you have family with young children- STAY AT THE IBEROSTAR PARAISO MAYA. For the same price, this resort blows the RPRM away.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank drelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
toledo,ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2010

My husband and I were at the RPRM the week of March 5 - 12 and had a wonderful time. I don't know how all these people who write about how horrible this place is can even say that about this place. Everything was excellent from the service to the food. The buffet's had a ton of variety on them. Everyone who worked there was so willing to accomodate you. The location to Playa Del Carmen is a nice 15 - 20 walk or a $5 cab ride into town. It is in a perfect location. Then if you go the opposite way there are more shops to the left in Playacar. Everyone is constantly cleaning and so friendly.
The only complaint I have,and it"s not even a complaint, is the shower temperature changes to really hot all of a sudden for a few seconds and then goes back. The hallways can get a little loud sometimes too. All in all we had an excellent time and loved the resort. We would definitely go back again. In fact I loved it so much I am taking my daughter there in August.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank stuckintoled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2010

My wife and I got married at Riu Palace Riviera Maya on February 20, 2010 and I must say everything was perfect!! We were married at the gazebo, which is by far the best location on the property, and we had our reception at Chili's. The weather was 85 degrees and sunny, the beautiful scenery was great for photos. Our wedding coordinator, Ael, was excellent; her laid back approach put us at ease from the beginning. The entire staff was very professional and organized, they know exactly how to create a memorable experience. They also have no problem throwing in perks like our reception dinner which they made completely private, although we didn't pay for the "private" option.

We had over thirty people fly in for our wedding, so we were a little nervous never having had stayed at the resort before. Overall everyone was very pleased with the service, the rooms, the location (being so close to Playa Del Carmen and so many attractions nearby was definitely a plus), the cleanliness, the food, the activities at the resort- we had no complaints. The service was phenominal (this needs to be mentioned twice)!!

I could go on and on about the details of each restaurant, the bars, etc. but others have already done so in their reviews. Instead I will just say this: we had very high expectations for our wedding & vacation and Riu Palace Riviera Maya far exceeded them!!

  • Stayed February 2010
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank robpiotrowski
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:
#20 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#29 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#29 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 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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