My partner and I spent June 14th- June 21st at the RIU Santa Fe. This was not our top choice resort, but my family had already booked a trip here an we decided to join them. We thought it would be fun to stay at the same resort, so we ended up at the RIU Santa Fe.
As a world traveler and frequent flier, I constantly read reviews here on tripadvisor. Before our trip, I was appalled by many of the negative comments I read. Having visited all-inclusives before, I knew the concept of "getting what you pay for" - so I try to lower my expectations. My partner and I are more of "romantic, modern, boutique" hotel people and we knew coming in that this resort did not cater to "romantic, modern, or boutique. With that said, let me give you my honest impressions. I'll try to note just things from our experience and try not to repeat a lot of what is already mentioned here.
If you are a couple and you are looking for a romantic, quiet resort- the RIU Santa Fe is NOT for you. If you are looking for a busy, large, clean, and friendly atmosphere- then you will LOVE the RIU.
Prior to our trip, I had read a lot of people talking about free room upgrades, getting to choose their own building, etc. Let me tell you this is NOT the case. We checked in our a Tuesday, there were quite a few people checking in at the same time as us. They do not use a computer to check you in. You give them your name, and they already have a map, your towel-cards, and a key in an envelope. Your room is pre-assigned, so if you booked a garden view room- do not come in with the impression that you are going to end up in building 7 with a sweet ocean view. After you check in, they do offer to take your bags to your room (we chose to bring ours with so we could immediately get to the pool). Also, if you walk down into the lobby they do offer you fresh drinks or bar upon arrival. Check-in is quick and easy.
On the Resort.....
The resort is VERY big, but MOST all-inclusives are. A lot of people have EXAGGERATED the walking distances, etc. We stayed in building 7 and I timed the walk to the lobby. It was just shy of 5 minutes. This is the furthest walk you will have to do. However, the lay-out of the resort is conducive for all. There is an infiniti pool located in front of building 7 that faces the ocean. Here you will also find the lunch buffet, and steakhouse (ala-carte dinner). If you do not want to walk back and forth to this pool, then there is another huge pool that is directly in between buildings 3,4,5, and 6. This pool also has a swim up bar, a lunch buffet, and the mexican restaurant (ala-carte dinner.) We chose to frequent both pools depending on the day, how busy it was, etc. If you want more of a party atmosphere (visit the pool by building 7). If you want to have a low-key day (visit the pool by building 3-6). The resort is BEAUTIFUL, the rooms are standard but modest, and the lay-out is conducive for all types of people. Unless you are snobby, close-minded, or extremely picky-- then this resort will suite you just fine!
On the Food....
One thing that you MUST remember is that you are not the only person the resort is cooking for. You are not going into a tiny french restaurant with 10 tables and getting the best meal of your life. However, you will get fresh food with a good variety of choices. I enjoyed the breakfast buffet that was located close to the lobby in the Baja California Restaurant. There was always fresh juice, fresh fruits, and just about every breakfast food you could image. The lunch buffets were good, but not excellent. Again, a great selection of fresh fruits along with some of your lunch favorites. I saw people comment on the fact that they had hamburgers and hotdogs (again, this is a family resort and there ARE KIDS!) Kids, if I remember correctly, do like things like pizza, hamburger, and hotdogs. I give credit to the RIU for staying true to themselves and knowing their clientele. The dinner buffets were the best quality. There was always a meat carver who would serve delicious choices (steak, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.) Again, a great selection for everyone. We did try the ala-carte restaurants --- the Mexican, Italian, and Steakhouse.
On the Beach....
The beach is rough, and yes, you probably can't swim in it. However, if you walk down to Medano Beach (close to the marina) the waves are less choppy and many people were swimming in the water. Also, if you take the glass bottom boat to Lover's Beach (again, you can snorkel, swim, etc.) I found that I really enjoyed the pool, so it wasn't a MUST for me to swim in the ocean. I did love seeing the big waves and walking down the beach. There are some vendors trying to sell things like hats, cigars, etc. However, a simple "no thanks" was always enough to stop them. I did end up buying some beach hats from the beach and I wore it my entire trip!
I spent 8 days, 7 nights at the RIU- so I tried to get out of the resort a few times. My family did the zip lining through eko-adventures and we loved it. It was a lot of hiking, but the best excursion I've ever done in Mexico before! We also rented wave runners on the beach for 40 minutes and had a great time! I also recommend taking the glass bottom boat and snorkeling trip to the famous arches. They are beautiful! We also saw crabs, sea lions, and tons of fish on the trip! If you get tired of eating at the resort, we visited Mi Casa for dinner one night (a great restaurant in the downtown area!) We had delicious pork empanadas, carnitas, and enchaladas. We also had lunch at the marina at Alexander. It was delicious and fairly inexpensive.
On Drinks and Entertainment....
A lot of people complain about the drinks being watered down. I don't know what they drank, but I had a few dirty monkeys and doctor funks that were terrific. They will serve you well-alcohol unless you specify. However, if I asked for bacardi- they always gave it to me! We found that the bars by the stage in the main lobby area were excellent. We loved Alex, the main bartender. We would sit there every night before the nightly show and drink tanquerey and tonic and mojitos. They were top-notch. It doesn't hurt to tip the bartenders. You have to remember that these people are not making a lot of money, and if you can spare a few dollars every now and again- why not!?! Some of the nightly shows were quirky, but overall they were enjoyable. We really liked the broadway night, the Michael Jackson show, and the Grease show!
The RIU is a great place for the price. We booked through applevacations and it was worth the $900 we paid per person for 8 days, 7 nights. We were hoping that it would be a little more romantic, quiet, etc. But we learned what we want for our next-trip. All-inclusives are great for some people, and not so great for others. Just remember to have an open-mind and try not to let petty things ruin your vacation. If you are a kind, open-minded person and have any questions- please do not hesitate to contact me! ;-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Located in the southern Baja California peninsula, 4.5 Km/2.8 Miles from Cabo San Lucas * Opened winter 2007/8 * 1-story main building and 3-story and 4-story annexes * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 3.5 Km/2.2 Miles from downtown Cabo San Lucas * 40 km/25 miles from the airport * 500 m/1650 ft from a bus stop ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Santa Fe Cabo San Lucas
- Riu Santa Fe Los Cabos
- Riu Sante Fe
- Hotel Riu Santa Fe Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Mexico