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Reviewed 26 June 2006

I just returned from Cabo San Lucas. Ten of us (30 somethings) stayed at the RIU from May 29 thru June 2. When we arrived I tipped $20 to the check in man to get us 5 rooms all together and away from the roosters, also I asked for a room with a nice view. He gave us the royal treatment and took us to the bar to discuss all the hotel had to offer. Don't let the bad reviews get you. I had read many of them and all things considered I think this is the nicest place to stay. We saw many other places while we were there and the location of this hotel is definitely a plus. We wanted to stay close to CABO and this was the nicest, closest hotel we saw. Take immodium with you. Several with us needed it from Day 2 on. I don't think it is the water or ice drinks, I think it was just a couple of weak stomachs. Some of us didn't feel bad at all.

THE AIRPORT:

After you get your luggage do not let the timeshare people fool you. Keep walking until you are OUTSIDE. I had to be very rude to them inside and was very glad a friend of mine had warned me about them. We booked through funjet vacations and they had a van waiting on us outside the airport. The transfer fee was included in our vacation package to the hotel and back to the airport. We were told this saved us about $80.00 one way.

THE ROOM:

Rooms were great and had plenty of room. Our view was excellent and their were no wakeup calls from the roosters. We were above the more active side of the hotel so it was noisy at times, but we made plenty of noise ourselves. Our mini bar was stocked with corona 2-3 times per day. We left a tip of $3.00 in the frig. each day.

THE POOL:

We went to Cabo with lots of partying in mind. We only stayed on the activity side of the hotel. It was very noisy at times, but no one was ever rude or totally obnoxious. During the day we could choose from the many activities or just lay by the pool or mingle and meet new people at the swimup bar. Activities during the day at the pool included water aerobics, target shooting, Spanish lessons, volleyball, Texas hold 'em, and several more.
The pool did close at about 7-8 p.m. but we didn't mind. By then we had all the sun we needed for the day. Workers were constantly working keeping the pool clean. It was extremely clean for the amount of people in it.

THE OCEAN:

The ocean was very dangerous. Several with us were pulled in from the undertow. I never got in the ocean once. The beach was hot and a little rough for me. The view from the hotel was all I needed. It was a fabulous view. It was litterally connected to the RIU pools. If you are a beach, salt water person, the RIU offered beach volleyball and lots of lounge chairs for those wanting to be right on the beach.

THE NIGHT LIFE:

We watched 2 shows. The shows were okay. I am not really into the muscials and dancing, but the performers worked very hard. The shows started around 9:00 pm and ended about 11:00 pm. While watching the shows we visited with one another and had plenty of drinks. Servers were very attentive and always brought us what we ordered.
We visited the disco 2 nights and had a great time. It is very crowded in there, but we had plenty of fun and danced to great music. The disco opened at 11:00 pm and closed at 2:00 am.

CABO NIGHT LIFE:

We visited Cabo 2 nights. We ate at the Shrimp Factory. It was excellent and was priced very reasonable. We also ate at Hard Rock Cafe (prices very reasonable). If you are in the mood for food that taste more American then go to the Hard Rock to eat. Cabo Wabo was a great time and so was El Squid Roe. Both are definitely PARTY places. If you aren't in the mood for wild and noisy then visit these places before 10:00 pm. We ate at the Trailer Park ( the older one) and were not impressed. Others that we know said it was the best, but we did not agree. Also it was pretty expensive. There were 10 of us and we asked for a big van taxi every time. We all crammed in and they charged us $2.00 per person. We thought that was pretty reasonable.

THE SPA:

All of us got massages. 80 minutes was about $120.00. 50 minutes was about $80.00. The massage was great. It was not a very large place and booking was a pain, but it was well worth it.

EXCURSIONS:

We took a Jungle Booze Cruise booked through the hotel. It was $35.00 per person. It was definitely a Booze Cruise. The boat was not much to look at, but we all decided it was the most fun of all we did. It took you on a 2 hour cruise to lovers arch. Beer and jungle juice were included.

Also, we parasailed. It was $40.00 per person. We booked it on the beach on RIU property.

2 went on an all day fishing trip. It was also booked in the hotel lobby. They caught a durango and 120 pound blue marlin. It was about $125 per person.

THE FOOD:

As in other reviews breakfast is definitely the best meal at the RIU. Go to the San Jose Mexican Restuarant for lunch. Many don' t know it is there. It is in the back corner toward the beach of the active side of the hotel (near the pool). It was a sit down lunch, no reservations needed, and had great food. Good pasta, fish, salad, and veggies. We knew we were going to go out for supper so we did not even book at a speciality restuarant. We talked to some who did and they all said the Japanese was the best. Reservations did not seem to be a big problem there anymore, at least not to the people we talked to. There was definitely plenty of food and we all found something that we liked.

THE RESORT:

It was absolutely breath taking from the moment we arrived. I was a little concerned because the drive from the airport was absolutely ugly. Desert, dry land that hadn't seen rain in many, many months. The resort is a place that we would never have to leave. The view to the ocean, the pools, the grounds, the entry, the staff, everything was more than we expected. We had a great time and if we go to Cabo again, we would definitely stay at the RIU.

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
32  Thank buggers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Denver, CO
16
Reviewed 26 June 2006

Just returned from the Riu last week- stayed there from the 13th to the 20th. After having gone to Mexico several times (Riviera Maya, Puero Vallarta), I must say that Cabo and/or the Riu is pretty nasty in comparison.
The resort itself is OK. The grounds are well maintained and are constantly manicured. Our room was decent. My husband and I ended up staying in a standard junior suite (we were supposed to be upgraded to the hot tub suite upon check-in but the desk clerk who checked us in refused to upgrade us...actually went back to the front desk the next morning and was told by another desk person that we should have received the upgrade however it really didn't matter since the hot tub suite was unavailable due to the tub being broken and awaiting parts). The maids try their best. The floor however is absolutely foul. We had to wipe our feet off on towels otherwise the bottoms would be pitch black. In every attempt to contact the front desk for towels or assistance of any kind, we were assured that "Si" whatever we needed would be brought immediately to our room. Always ended up calling three or four times to finally receive what we requested.
The food was tolerable. Sir Lawrence was definitely the best in terms of quality. Please know that if you want to visit any of the specialty restaurants, make reservations early. Sir Lawrence was almost completely booked for the entire week we were there. Also, you are only allowed to make two reservations at a time. The Medano Restaurant (standard buffet) had a large selection for both breakfast and dinner and the food was not too bad. The other lunch buffet they offered was okay too, but the dessert bar was nasty. Lots of bees!
In regard to the pool/beach area, it was great. The beach was more secluded although there were tons of vendors to keep you company and be more than happy to sell you something "at a good price". We preferred the pool. The drink waiters were very friendly and quick. The water in the pool was freezing! For me, after about 20 minutes of acclamating to the water, the best part was to wade over to the ledge of the pool and look out at the ocean.
On previous trips to Mexico, my husband and I would always venture out and do lots of excursions. After talking to many people, we regretfully were informed that the snorkeling was not that great, the golf was expensive and not that great, the fishing was super expensive, and the ATV riding was a dirty sand blast. We finally decided on the Dinner Cruise and had a good time. Downtown Cabo is definitely an experience. Frankly, I thought it was a real $@#*hole. Very dirty. Very crowded. Lots of suspicious looking people who approach you. Felt very similar to Tijuana. Visited the legendary Cabo Wabo and was not that impressed. We completely felt like tourists going there but it seemed like we ended up there because of the familiarity of it and just wanted to get out of the atmosphere of what was going on outside.
All in all, I would give our trip an average score. Due to the fact that we didn't do many excursions, we ended up being bored a lot. I would definitely say that I will not be returning to Cabo anytime in the near future.

  • Stayed: June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2006

My husband and I stayed at the Riu from June 21st- June 25th. I was hesitant while reading many of the reviews on this site, but my hubby assured me that you can't always listen to what other crazy people might write :). Needless to say, I should have listened a little more closely.

I am not going to nit pick on every detail of the hotel. No hotel is perfect. If you are expecting a five star resort or you are used to staying at posh hotels where you are treated like a king and queen, this is not the place for you. That being said, generally speaking the Riu is a nice hotel. The grounds are beautiful, especially the pools, and we enjoyed swimming and hanging out at the resort. The Riu claims to be 4 stars, and I think that many of the travel websites say it is 4 stars. I would consider this 3.5 stars and that is being generous.

Our MAJOR issue with the hotel was the food. I will first say that we probably have higher expectations when it comes to food- we like good food and we enjoy good dining experiences- and we also have more food limitations that the average person. We do not eat meat or shellfish. Usually when we go away on vacation this is not an issue for us, especially when we visit places on the water. I was expecting an abundance of fresh fish, but was very dissapointed especially for a resort that is on the ocean!

The hotel claims to have 5 restaurants, which is VERY misleading. One of them is the buffet. Each night they have a theme. This means that on Mexican night, for example, they take the food that has been on the buffet throughout the week and bring it up to the center of the buffet to highlight it. There is barely any new food on the buffet each night, just variations on what has been served on previous nights. Also, if you have a sensitive stomach watch out. Everything is fried and greasy and salty. It is easy to blame the food on the fact that the resort has so many people to feed, but cruise ships have even more and I have been on two cruises and enjoyed the food both times.

The second of the 5 restaurants is the Italian/ Mexican. The Italian is only open at lunch and was better than going to the buffet at lunch. They had pasta with different sauces and pizza, which was fine with me. We went to dinner at the Mexican one night. They had one fish and one vegetarian entree on the menu (btw- the menus at these "restaurants" have only 4 or 5 entrees to select from) so my hubby and I got those two. They were good, relatively speaking. You ordered your entrees and then you got up to get soup, salad and dessert (the same stuff they have at the main buffet).

The third restaurant is the Japanese, which was probably the best meal we had. There was sashimi and sushi rolls for the appetizer and then one fish we could eat on the menu- salmon- which was pretty good. The fourth restaurant was the steakhouse. We did not go there because there was only one item on the menu we could eat- the "fish skewers" and when I asked what kind of fish, no one could tell me.

The fifth restaurant was the Gourmet Restaurant. This will bring me to an additional complaint about the whole food experience. It is near impossible to get reservations to this restaurant, and to some of the others. Our first day there was a Thursday and we were leaving on Sunday. I went Thursday morning at 11 am to make reservations for dinner. I was told that for the gourmet restaurant the next reservations were not open until Sunday night. The whole making reservations thing is ludicrous. This is a resort that has about 450 rooms, yet all of the restaurants have a very small amount of tables. We counted 12 tables in the Gourmet Restaurant. Come on!

Anyway, by Saturday night I was sick already from either the water or the bad food and I could not eat again at the buffet. We went to the gourmet and asked them if there was any way we could be seated later that night. At first the host said "well, if you want to sit down right now and order right away you can come- the kitchen closes in 10 minutes". Not wanting to ruin the whole experience, I said that we could come later if he wanted. He counted the number of people who were coming later and told us to come back at 8:50 and shook my hand. Fine. We came back at 8:45 and were told to wait and then we saw that the restaurant was full. They told us we couldn't be seated. I explained to a different gentleman (the original one we spoke to was of course nowhere to be found) what we were told and eventually they brought in another table from the Japanese restaurant and were seated. We tipped the guy a generous tip. Needless to say it was NOT worth it. The food was greasy and salty and did little to help my stomach.

I can understand getting sick of the food after 7 days, but we were only there for 4. We do have more limitations so please take our suggestions with a grain of salt. I have friends who have stayed at all inclusives who have the same restrictions as us and they have really enjoyed it, so I don't know if it was just this resort or if it would be a problem elsewhere. After this, we will not be staying at all inclusive again.

So if you don't mind the food and just want to have a good time, the Riu Palace is for you. For us, dining out is a highlight of vacation so we were very dissapointed.

  • Stayed: June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank Gizmojen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2006

We stayed at the Riu Palace from June 17-24 and read all of the reviews on trip advisor prior to booking and chose the Riu over the Intercontinental and Dreams based on the reviews that we read. We were pleased with our choice. We had a 4th floor end Junior Suite, although the hotel is tiled and this can contribute to noise in the hallways, our room was very private and quiet. We did smell the "sewage" smell that others refer to, in the hallway a few times, however, it went away and was not an issue for us. The beds are quite hard, however, we too, requested the topper and then it was fine. The entire hotel, pool area and rooms were extremely clean and service everywhere we went was stellar. We were sure to tip wherever we went and received great service everywhere. We had great weather, no complaints about the pool, service or beach. As stated on the Riu website and also in the trip advisor reviews, do not swim in the ocean as the undertow is extremely bad.....If you plan to use your laptop, go to the front desk and sign up for the Riu Rewards card, this will entitle you to double time when purchasing time for the internet. Unfortunately, they do not offer any sort of internet connection in the room, we had to bring our laptop downstairs to access the internet, furthermore, we found it to be costly and suggest purchasing a few blocks of time (we purchased (2) 24 hour blocks of time and then because we had the Riu card, we received double time which equals (2) free 24 hour blocks of time). While we gave the Riu an excellent, score on trip advisor we would rate it an 81/2 or 9 on a scale of 1-10. The food was not excellent and if it was, we would have rated the hotel a 10. The food is just ok....as stated in previous reviews, the breakfast buffet on the second level 7-10:30am and the Italian buffet lunch were the best. The Sir Lawrence Restaurant was also very nice, however, very small and challenging to get reservations. The other restaurants were not appealing to us only because we prefer quality over quantity. I highly recommend this property, however, just do not expect Ritz Carlton type food. The drinks were great and the service was as well. We went into Cabo San Lucas twice, a ten dollar cab ride from the hotel or a 30 minute walk. It was fun to see the town and sites, however if you are looking for higher end shopping, we suggest going to San Jose del Cabo. The cab ride is $40 each way from the Riu, we were going to take a cab ther until we heard about the "Hop On, Hop Off" bus tour which stops in San Jose del Cabo. We spent $60 I to go on the "Hop On, Hop Off" bus tour, I believe you can purchase it thru the SunQuest travel person in the hotel lobby for $30 per person. It was great and stopped in San Jose Del Cabo (as well as some attractions at some of the other hotels, thus confirming that we made the right choice with the Riu when we saw the other hotels) The tour guide was very knowledgeable, informative and interesting and it gave us an opportunity to see some sites and learn about the history of Cabo. The tour was not more than 4 hours long and you can get on and off the bus at each location and can leave the tour whenever you'd like. Lastly, remember, you are in Mexico and it is a foreign country and Spanish is their language.....they had many tv channels and about 5 were in English, I thought that the staff did a good job of speaking English, and they were more than happy to bend over backwards to help you if you were polite, kind, respectful and nice to them. They all take their jobs very seriously and want to be helpful. I also suggest tipping ....if you are nice and you tip you will have fabulous service and a wonderful time! Saying please and thank you will get you far!!!

10  Thank coco123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2006

My buddy and I went during the week of June 12-19th.. I'm not one to post a review but we had such a good time, i felt compelled to write about it. Hands down, one of the best vacation i've ever been on. i've taken the time to read a lot of the reviews about this hotel and just want to make the comment that all the 3+ reviews are pretty well accurate and i can agree with them that this hotel is everything they write and more. Those that rated this hotel poorly are being way too critical in my opinion and are expecting a 5 star north american hotel when they're in Mexico. Beds are fine (some people complain the beds are too hard (of course they are not going to be as soft as yours at home) quit being such a princess.. Food, service, rooms, fabulous IMO. We got to know and met many great people on the resort and generally they were very friendly and we did not have any negative experiences. In addition, we got to know all the activity staff very well (especially Christina and Brian who were great) we participated in practically everything on a regular basis and even won the bochi ball tournment on our last day and won a hat and certificate on stage at night time.

To give you an idea of how good this hotel is, we went deep sea fishing and caught a Dolphin(Mahi Mahi) fish and actually ended up with some Marlin meat as well by trading some of our fish with a local who bought the meat from one of the other boats. We brought the fish back to the hotel to see if they can cook it for us and they were more than happy to help us out. We were a group of six btw. We thought that they were simply going to just cook it and put it on a plate, however to our surprise they put it on a big plate and garnished it beautifully. All throughout dinner, we were talking about how great this hotel was and what a good job they did with the food, then all of a sudden the head chef came and brought to us a plate of Marlin Sashimi and i have to tell you, that is the best tasting sashimi i've EVER tasted. With that being said, we had left him a very generous tip. We had so much fish left over we actually offered it to 10+ people as well as there was no way we were going to finish all of it.

Also on our second day, somehow we forgot to lockup the room safe and left the room, only to come back to a cleaned up room and a note on the bed informing us that we had left our valuables out etc. and to come to the front desk and retreive our key. When we got the key back and opened up our safe, we have to say were grateful that everything was in there were we had left it and was not missing a thing!!! Needless to say, we tipped the maids everyday as they did a fantastic job.

We went out everynight. Nightlife here is by far better than Cancun in my opinion. Cost to go downtown is $10 cab (do not pay more, let the cab driver know the price before getting in) and you can also jump in with a group that is going down. Every night we would start the night off at Cabo Wabo, then make our way across the street to the Giggling Marlin, then around the corner to the Zoo, and finish off the night at El Squid Roe. We're in our 30s and found Cabo Wabo to be a great place, they have live bands coming in every so often. The croud there is generally 20-40+ majority the latter. You can also carry your drinks out of the bar and into another one. Giggling Marlin was alright as well, they have a lot of interactive amusing provacative games going on there. Lastly we did find the Zoo and El Squid Roe to be our favorites, it does cater to the younger croud (20s-30+) and the music was in our opinion a lot better then the other 2 places. Drinks are about $4+ US, and can add up, so we took advantage of the bar fridge in our room. We basically had taken out all the pop and filled it with Carona's and water. Just make sure you tip.

We only went to the Steakhouse and the Japanese restaurant and both were good but if i had to choose, i thought the Steakhouse was the best. I asked for Medium rare, and sure enough they delivered, it was perfect. We even met some people on the resort and went for steak and lobster with them at a place just outside the resort (walking distance 10min) called Enriques which was great and relatively inexpensive.

For those who run out of money, there is a bank machine that takes debit cards about 10 min walk outside the resort. When you walk outside the resort and come to the highway, it's directly across the street (in the place they sell alcohol). Just have to cross the highway (not that bad). The machine dispenses pesos.

Weather was teriffic, we understand that there was only 3 hrs in total of rain all year last year.

The ocean is as rough as they say it is. We are both very good swimmers but when you get there, you can see, there is little you can do against a powerful wave. We did a little swimming there, however you really have to be careful and pick your opportunities.

Well that's it for now, those who are on the fence about this resort, rest assure and just book the trip, you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
28  Thank Lorenz0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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