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“Loved the Riu”
Review of Hotel Riu Santa Fe

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Hotel Riu Santa Fe
Ranked #41 of 71 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Reviewed 10 January 2009

We stayed here from Jan 1-8, with 2 other couples. All 6 of us loved the experience. The resort was beautiful & very clean, with friendly, helpful staff. The buffet was very good, although the à la carte meals had mixed reviews depending on what you ordered. The beach was clean, and not too crowded as most people laze poolside.

Beautiful sunrises, be sure to get up early for pretty skies!

Town of San Jose was a 40 min bus ride away (for $2.50 US each way). It's a quaint Mexican town filled with jewelry shops and art galleries, and worth the trip. Have lunch at the Baja Brewery for a great pint & wood oven pizza! Prices are better than in Cabo San Lucas. Locals will offer a deal on excursions, but beware that they are selling time shares. There's always a catch!

Highly recommend water taxi to Lover's Beach.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with friends
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7  Thank trolt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,440 - 6,446 of 8,060 reviews

Reviewed 9 January 2009

Spent five nights at the Riu Santa Fe in Cabo during the Christmas 2008 holidays. Flew AA non-stop to Cabo from DFW, perfect flights both ways. The airport in San Jose is fairly small and easy to get around in. The timeshare gauntlet is a bit intimidating but just walk through straight to transportation. Definitely arrange transportation ahead of time as a taxi is apprx. $75 per person each way from the airport to the Riu which is about a 45 minute ride. The drive was pretty uneventful and we didn't learn too much from the driver as he spoke little English. Upon arrival at the Riu, we checked in at reception desk; not overly friendly except for the young lady giving drinks out in the lobby area. During our trip, we initially thought that the locals were just not generally friendly but found that it more just a communication problem. We have decided to take Spanish lessons and learn more of the language since we travel frequently to Mexico. Tip: When checking in, request a Riu discount card which will save you money at the spa and on any return trips to the Riu. You are assigned to a building and asked if you want your bags delivered; I recommend taking your own bags as it may take some time to get them delivered to your room. Since we had an ocean view room, we were assigned to Building 7 which is a large four story horseshoe shaped building nearest to the beach. You have to check in on the main floor of the building with the concierge (in Building 7 it is Alma) to get the keys to your room. One thing to keep in mind that due to the shape of the building, most of the rooms do not have a direct view of the ocean. The first “ocean view” room we were assigned to had a direct view of a sand dune but if you hung over the balcony far enough you could see the ocean. We went back to Alma and she put us in a room overlooking the main pool with an obstructed view of the ocean. Note: If your expectations are for an ocean view room that you can open your balcony door and hear the ocean, you will probably be disappointed. It is mainly due to the shape of the building and the distance it is from the ocean. The room was OK as we really didn’t spend a whole lot of time there. There is no room service (bit of a disappointment) but there is a mini-bar and liqueur dispenser that is restocked very other day and the sports bar is open 24/7 and has sandwiches and snacks for those late night munchies. Overall the rooms are clean and well kept as is the Riu Santa Fe facilities and grounds in general. Building 7 can be a little noisy so if you’re not hung up on the ocean view, stay in one of the other smaller outlying buildings. Use your building’s concierge to book reservations in the specialty restaurants which I would highly recommend trying. Note: she can book two nights in advance so you don’t have to go down every morning and wait in line to get a reservation. It’s nice to be seated and served instead of waiting in the lines at the main restaurants which were a bit hectic, primarily due to the hotel being at above capacity during the peak Christmas timeframe. The main restaurants are good for breakfast and lunch but try to try the specialty restaurants at night. Be prepared to walk a lot as the Riu Santa Fe is spread out. It is over a ¼ of a mile from building 7 to the main restaurant where breakfast and evening meals are served. Lunch is served in building 7 which also serves as the steak restaurant at night. Overall the food was pretty good, especially considering they were trying to feed between 2-3 thousand people. Get up early in the morning (before 7:00), go down to the pool and put your towels on the chairs that you want to lay out on; I never liked doing this, but that is the way it is done there. Select your chairs, go have breakfast and then return to catch some rays. The spa facilities are great, with his and her saunas, steam baths, jacuzzis and the massages are wonderful and not real expensive (about $56 each with Riu discount card). See Jose on the beach for any trips or excursions, he can hook you up with whatever you want to do. He arranged a water taxi with driver on Christmas day to give us a private tour over to the Pacific side at sunset. Although we did not venture to town except for once to eat at Romeo & Julliettes (which is a great Italian restaurant), everyone we talked to that did said that Cabo is fun and felt safe there. You can get there via a water taxi or a regular taxi for $10 each way or catch the local bus just outside the Riu gate for about 80 cents each. Walk next door and check out the Riu Palace; it seems to be a little quieter, more elegant, less people; may stay there next trip. Note: people staying at the Palace can use the Riu Santa Fe’s facilities but not visa-versa. Overall our experience at the Riu was pleasurable and we would return.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank ByronD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2009

We really enjoyed our vacation here. Immigration upon coming into the airport is a bit slow but consistent with travel to other countries. Thanks to an earlier review on TripAdvisor, we knew to keep on walking out the door at the airport where the Tour Group people were waiting. Bus ride to the hotel is about 30 minutes. Check in was very quick. Staff was waiting with a drink and envelop with our necessary key and room information. The resort itself is beautifully laid out with good maps. The room was spacious, clean and well kept. A tip to the chambermaid is recommended. (they are all very friendly!) Tons of space at the pools although we did find the pools a bit cold. Jacuzzi's are just jetted parts of the pool with no temperature difference. Service was great. Servicing Staff were very friendly and accomodating. We liked the Kids Club, although it is better for the younger crowd although our 10 year old enjoyed it. Kids Club staff is great especially Eva. We enjoyed the kids mini disco in the evenings as did our children. We found some of the songs on the internet after we returned and our youngest is still dancing to the songs. We played tennis a few times - they have racquets and some flat balls (bring your own if you are hard core!). We found the food really good, especially all the local mexican dishes. The hotel put on a SPECTACULAR New Years Eve Dinner and Party. We aren't big drinkers but there is more than enough booze to go around - lots in your room too along with water and mixes. We had no stomach troubles either. We liked the beach and found it swimmable. Many merchants on the beach to contend with. We took the glass bottomed boat across the arches with "Joe" and we would recommend it. Bring drinks and some food (no facilities there!). We used the local buses - cheap! But keep in mind they take long loops around. Catch the bus just outside the security gates. Walmart was not worth the trip although their booze is cheap. We were underwhelme by downtown (more merchants and more expensive) but nice yachts in the marina if you like that kind of thing. We loved the resort and would recommend it for families with young children. It was an excellent getaway for us!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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9  Thank YLW_guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2009

.First time at a Riu, many times to Cabo, Manzanillo, Cancun, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta.etc. We were pleased with the quick, efficient check-in with cold drinks and friendly staff in the beautiful lobby.. but . it took us FOREVER to find our room, pounding the pavement in the dark, thru a maze of bldgs.. tired from our long travel day.(they need some guides), lots of walking, but bldg.#7 at least has an elevator, we finally hopped on a luggage trolley, hitched a ride and were happy to give a good tip to the driver to finally get to our bldg..our luggage got to the room in 1/2 hour. pay close attention when they tell you where your room is as this in a HUGE complex. this place could use some people trolleys.. we found it a lot of walking .AND we saw a lot of injuries, broken ankles, arms in slings, sprains, folks who had tripped and fallen.. some complained about food poisoning but I think it was the hot sun or the sushi. gloves are not worn to make it and the fillings sit out who knows how long. the hygiene is questionable, I had it once and felt queasy after, so I stayed away from it..if the fish doesn't look fresh, likely it isn't'.
security was very good and we always felt safe. no mention of thefts. people left things around the pools and it was all ok.
lots of pool lounges, no need to get up at the crack of dawn to "reserve". no umbrellas on the beach tho, so it wasn't used much, lots of empty lounges there. the town bus stops at the front gate and is less than one $ to town. Wal Mart is across the street, best buys in Cabo on Liquor and "Cabo" wear. Taxis are $10.00 to Cabo.
rooms were very good, bathrooms in good order but the tubs are sloped and my husband fell while having a shower.
we paid for an oceanFRONT room, but got an oceanview., which is not the same. rooms are in a horseshoe configuration and all face each other. they are noisy, not private and very little view. after some testy "discussion" we got moved to an oceanfront, #7223, across the front overlooking the arches. the balcony was private and enjoyable, and we got what we paid for.. we played, partied and relaxed at the pool in front of our room, with 50 or so of our new found friends making this huge resort a friendly, smaller, friendlier area for us. it was a fun bunch of people.
there were about half Canadians and Americans and we had a really good, happy, fun time with everybody. Drinks were a little watered down, but the swim up bar was great, mojitos were the favorite. ask for the brand name liquor, Bacardi, Smirnoff or you will get domestic. there are no waiters serving the pool areas., so you get your own. the rooms have domestic, but the corona beer is cold and well stocked, we often brought it to the pool..
everything was very very clean, the pools, the rooms, the eating areas.no bugs. the place was very well staffed by friendly, helpful people, who were constantly cleaning. lots of towels etc. .
buffet was good, esp breakfast. but a long walk. lunch was poor,. in a smaller area by our complex, but it was not replenished and there was very little left if you didn't go early. mainly burgers and fries and a sparse salad bar. it was the same thing every day but once it ran out, it was gone......even if you asked for more, too bad. lots of people took extra from the large morning buffet to have for lunch. plus, the food and the drink dispensers at the lunch area were covered with wasps and flies. yuk. the specialty restaurants were good, the Italian the best if you had the beef fillet. better than the steak place. go figure.. no pasta here tho.. you can reserve for these special restaurants any time of the day and 2 at a time for the week if you want. ask when you book what is good to eat and you'll get good tips about it. they were easy about reserving.. casual dress was the norm, even shorts. you don't need a lot of clothes here. evening entertainment was so so and we usually skipped it. we got a pass one night to go next door to the Riu Palace. this IS a 5*. the buffet was very good, lobster, filet mignon, champagne. a nice entertainment area and good bar. however, we found it a bit stuffy and we noticed people from there coming to the Santa Fe as it was more fun and generally livelier. they could use our hotel, we could not use theirs!! it is worth a night out there tho.
we went on a wonderful sunset dinner cruise,called the Fiesta, 5 hours with a great lobster buffet. and real fiesta entertainment. It was worth every penny, except we didn't pay the $80.00 each for it, we used it as part of a 90 min. time share we went to for which we got $250.00 cash. we always hold out for cash, and $250.00 seems to be the going rate there but you have to ask for it.(instead of a fishing trip or dinner etc.) we came home with more $$ than we went with, plus we had wanted to see this time share place anyways for future. the location of the Riu is good as it's fairly close to town and you could walk there but it's a fair hike in the heat to get to town..
we had a very fun 2 weeks here with all the sun seeking holiday-ers but found the staff not at all helpful if you had a problem, like a fall or the wrong room, or no food at lunchtime. it's a take it or leave it attitude. plus it was just too large and spread out for us and too much walking, so we would not go back. A lot of people were upset that the beach is not good for swimming and the pools were cold, plus no pool service . we love Cabo and there are zillions of places to stay there. we were expecting a 5* but this is likely a 4 or 41/2. we had much better value at the El Presidente in Ixtapa last year with good food, service and entertainment, plus you can swim in the ocean. .

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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9  Thank maureen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2009

I read these reviews every time I book a Vacation. I must say that I am PICKIER that most travelers, only because I do spend alot on these trips and I bring along my adult children. Therefore I expect to get more for my money then most. We traveled to the Riu during Christmas. The weather was great, the view was amazing, the people at the resort including the guests were all friendly ( mostly Canadians).
But the food was so plain ( I own a restaurant) I was totally disappointed. It was the same thing day in and day out. I have been to other Riu's and their buffets are amazing . The only day we got shrimp was Christmas Eve, when we where all forced to eat at the buffet either at 6:00 or 8:45. I have never seen such a disorganized mess in my life ( other that Friday night rush hour at my restaurant ). I was stressed just watching the cooks trying to keep up with the demand. I spent almost an hour in line trying to get a plate of food ( I didnt even go up for more). They should have had more seating times.
We booked only 2 restaurants because everything else was taken. The Asian is not too bad. It actually was great, since we went to the Italian one first and it was worst then terrible. Italian is my specialty . If you are running a 5 star hotel and you have an Italian restaurant , why won't you hire a professional Italian Chef. There was nothing Italian about this place. The sauce was terrible and and lasagna looked disgusting. They served my son's a raw steak and my daughter didnt want meat so they made her risotto with vegtables and it tasted spoiled.
We booked 2 rooms with an ocean or pool view. We were given a room facing the back of the Riu Palace. The one room had a king bed which was great for my husband and I. But the children got a room with 2 double beds pushed together. That
would be great if they were little. But they are 6'3'', 6'1'',and 6'.
So my daughter had to sleep on a cot for 7 nights ( which I had the front desk bring in). I was but on a waiting list for a pool view room and on Christmas day ( 3 days after we arrived) they had one available. They asked us to move out of our room by 11 am and they would have the pool view room available by 3 pm. I walked into the childrens room and saw all the packing I had to do and I decided that it wasn't worth it.
The hotel was 100% booked and there was alot of screaming babies and kids playing soccer along the pool decks on the ocean view side. We were packed like sardines. There was no one in the pools because the water was too cold. The weather was between 82-86 most days, but the nights are around 65.
So the pools were freezing. Out of about 2,000 guest there must have been about a dozen people in the pool at any given time and about the same in the ocean.
The shows at night are ok. I think most of the guest at the Riu are more refined and they should have catered to that. Some shows were so lame that we left half way thru it.
It really is a beautiful hotel, the grounds are well maintained. The rooms are great (other then the beds are not big enough).
The service is friendly, the bartenders are fast, the maids are great. Check in was fast. And there isnt as much walking as most reviewers said there would be. The buildings are much closer ( about a 2 minute walk to the buffet or your room, from the ocean building).
Overall we had a great time. We make the best of our vacations because in the end they are great memories. Just hope the Hotel reads my review and makes a few changes before they get to much negative feedback ( they have only been opened over a year so they can make some improvements).

  • Stayed: December 2008
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9  Thank sunbaby48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2009

I highly recommend this hotel. It is the best of the best. My husband, son and other family members stayed at this resort. I have stayed at various Riu Resorts and this one is the best by far. The food was excellent, the staff friendly and the nightlife was also good. Various activities on the beach but affordable. My son jet skied, wake boarded, ski flying etc. My husband went deep sea fishing for a low price of 200.00 US for one day. That is cheap! He did it twice to boot. It cost 5.00 US to go to town by cab or 2.00US by . Town was amazing. Loved it better than Playa Del Carmen in Mayan Rivera. Which is one of my favs. The ocean view is amazing. Lots of action to enjoy or just be a by stander. Chairs were never an issue to find. Beach or pool. We asked for a different room as our balcony view was facing the field. No problem. Done! In a nut shell, we will be returning to the Cabo San Luca area. PS. Make sure you take a water taxi to Lovers Beach. Take some cash so you can purchase refreshments and enjoy the view.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled with family
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7  Thank OntarioBigMamma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2009

We stayed four nights at the Riu Santa Fe prior to Christmas. Unfortunately, we were looking for a romantic getaway. Somewhere between the keg stands, hotel-sponsored beer drinking contests, cafeteria-style buffets, poor service, and swarming bees, we lost the romantic atmosphere. Having previously stayed at a resort in Cancun (not a Riu), we were amazed at the differences between the hotels.

Our number one complaint had to be the food. Very poor quality. I'm fairly certain the nacho cheese at the restaurant by the beach had cigarette ashes in it one day. There were always bees around the self-serve drinks (at least until we mentioned it!). I had a hamburger that was still bleeding - even the couple at the table next to us commented on how awful it looked. The steaks were quite similar to what we have had before in third world countries throughout Latin America. The manager even warned us about the steaks before we ate at the steakhouse.

The atmosphere was quite similar to spring break. Never have I seen hotel entertainment staff at a resort very openly (next to the towel station) making out with a hotel guest, who could barely stand after so many alcoholic beverages. Also, the staff literally walked around the pool asking all to join in the beer drinking contest, and in the early afternoon at that!

We attempted to switch hotels, but were unable to get Book-It to agree to refund our money. Looking back, we wish we had spent the additional money to go somewhere else to finish our trip. We will not be back to this (or any) Riu.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank TropicalGlass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Santa Fe

Address: Camino Viejo a San Jose | Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > Los Cabos > Cabo San Lucas
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#22 Top resorts Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#27 Spa Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#30 On the Beach Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#31 Family Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
Price Range: £137 - £238 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Santa Fe 3.5*
Number of rooms: 902
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

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