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“Great Hotel, Lovely Water”
Review of Hotel Riu Vallarta

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Hotel Riu Vallarta
Ranked #18 of 28 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 June 2014

My family and I took a vacation to the Rio Vallarta this past February for a week, and it has been one of my favourite trips ever, second only to the Omni Cancun. When you arrive, you are immediately wowed by the ornate, regal lobby, with marble floors, high ceilings, and plush furnishings. That first impression continues out into the "courtyard" where a grand staircase leads into a cobblestone walk with slightly odd fountain-pool-decorative-water-things. Another stair case leads you to the water. However, this gorgeous first impression was short lived. After arriving late at night and skipping dinner, the kids were impatient and hungry; the adults too. The only meal option open at night was the Sports Bar. There are only a few meal options, and they are as follows; stale nachos, cold hotdogs with rock hard buns, and refrigerated hamburgers you are expected to heat yourself. Disappointed, we headed up to our room, and after unlocking our door (which stuck) we found ... two beds. Not two queens or doubles, however. A king and a "double", more like a single. We are a family of four. This was the "family room". We opened our mini fridge to find mould. This may sound discouraging, but the staff came to our aid immediately, cleaning the fridge for us. Alas, the sleeping situation could not be resolved, any other room would be worse. The beds, I might add, are hard as rock, but its Mexico, that's expected. After the first night, however, the trip went smoothly. The location is fantastic, a little secluded but only a half hour drive from the Malecon, and all the hustle and bustle of downtown, if that's your thing. The beach is fantastic; plenty of seating, rentable water activities like boogie boards and sailboats, and best of all, the water is protected, so the kids can actually swim. There are many food options, and the buffets have an abundance of dishes each (there are two). The staff are friendly and helpful, and the two pools (adult and child) are clean and large. Possibly the best feature is the access to the Jalisco, the Rio next door. It's decoration is much more modern if that's your style, newly renovated, and the buffet food is delicious. I highly recommend this resort, its only flaws being its late night food options, its lack of room service, and the beds (not good for families more than four).

Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
2  Thank iamironman2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,830 - 2,836 of 5,233 reviews

Reviewed 1 June 2014

Spent 2 weeks in May and had a wonderful holiday, travelling with Thomsons on their Dreamliner flight.

It was a fabulous holiday and had many positives with only a couple of negatives so I'll start with those.

There are 2 pools (both very warm with pool towels available so no need to pack your towels) but you would be hard pressed to find a sunbed by the main pool unless you were down with your towel at dawn. It says not to reserve sunbeds but we saw many that were reserved and not used until the afternoon. There are plenty of shaded and quieter areas where there was no problem getting a bed. This pool was noisy which is only to be expected with a swim up pool bar and plenty of entertainment going on. The slightly smaller pool has 3 water slides and there was no problem getting a sunbed with this pool being geared up for the children so could get noisy in the afternoon - again there are plenty of shaded/quieter areas available. The children's entertainment is around this area and there was one rep who was far too whistle happy for my liking. She would walk round the pool rounding up all the kids but did she really have to blow that shrill whistle at every given opportunity.

There are many locals who frequent this hotel on a day pass or 3/4 days breaks, which I don't have a problem with, however some have no manners whatsoever and don't get me started on the rubbish (even saw a soiled nappy) especially on the beach. One party of locals left their rubbish on the beach then just moved their sunbeds to another part of the beach!!!! There are plenty of bins around, however the hotel staff did well to clear the beach. I saw one new party of 4 women who arrived at the pool, saw 4 beds empty with towels on (whilst the family were lunching), removed the towels, left them on the ground and plonked themselves there - needless to say, world war 3 nearly erupted when the family returned (but it entertained me) ;-)

The beach was wonderful with an abundance of beds shaded under the palm trees. You could hire boogie boards for an hour (no charge) was was great fun in the waves. There are other water sports available but not sure if there was a charge. The staff would come round offering drinks for most of the day which was great if you didn't want to get off your sunbed.

The food was great and by far better than most AI's which we have stayed in. The breakfast was our personal favourite - there were freshly juiced smoothies available, freshly cooked omelettes with plenty of varied fillings (which were delicious), scrambled / fried eggs etc, a varied continental section, breads, pancakes - catered for everyone. The main buffet for lunch/dinner menu was varied with plenty of grilled meat/fish & their ribs were superb. The salads and pastas were great with plenty of variety. Yes the food tends to become very 'samey' over the course of 2 weeks but I wouldn't expect any different & there was certainly more variety than most. Didn't like their pizzas much but this wasn't a problem. There were 3 restaurants, Steak, Alacarte & Asian. We didn't eat at the Asian but heard good reports and the other 2 served great food but had a limited menu esp the Steakhouse. The steakhouse is where you could get a nice lunch with fabulous views across the ocean and it was nice to eat there in the evening when the sun was setting too.

We had a nice sized basic double room on the 8th floor which had a small balcony with wonderful ocean/mountain views and was on the left hand side of the hotel so was quiet with plenty of cupboard space/coat hangers and safe. The minibar is stocked every other day and there is also an optic with 4 different spirits but you could always ask for it to be stocked more if necessary and the maids clean the rooms daily. We didn't find the bed too hard at all but you could always ask for mattress toppers if needed.

There is a varied day/evening entertainment programme which we didn't see much of as the lobby bar was nice for an evening drink which was quieter and had a nice breeze blowing through the open plan foyer. There are plenty of comfy seats/sofas to relax on and the sportsbar is open for 24 hrs with snacks available (nice & cool in there).

The hotel offer free wifi for 90 minutes per day (in the lobby/foyer) - if this isn't enough as it is limited, you could purchase wifi but the cost is extortionate. We did for 3 days and it cost $40 but we wanted to facecall family - however you do get a much better connection anywhere in the hotel, even on the beach.

All in all the hotel is great and the staff are so friendly & helpful. We would go back to this hotel and would recommend to family & friends as it is superb value for money and that 12 hour flight over (10 hrs back) on the Dreamliner plane is so worth while. Simply fabulous!

Room Tip: Choose a room which doesn't look out on the square (middle of the hotel) and the higher the floo...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kazza144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2014 via mobile

We stayed in Cancun firts tome in Mexico, but this time the Riu Vallarta was well worth the flight! You must meet Victor y Eduardo the central barmen! Hard working is a mild statement. The hotel is very clean and the staff are amazing. Food is very good and varied. I'll go back.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
8  Thank ALAN J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2014

Just returned from visit to Riu Vallarta,first impressions were excellent.Hotel is art deco styled which gave it character not like Jalisco which we visited briefly! during our stay.I agree with others, the beds are hard,but ask for topper,I did & it was put on nearly straight away?we liked the adults only pool, no kids racing about annoying everyone.Staff were wonderful always cheerful & working hard.General areas were kept spotless as we're the rooms.Food was good but I would beware of the mayonaise because we heard of a few upset tummies & I think it could be linked.Birds in beach restaurant were a bother so we went to main buffet at lunch time.Enjoyed our stay & will probably return in a few years.Vallentina the Thomson rep was really good,very pleasant & happy getting anything you needed as quickly as possible.

Stayed: May 2014
12  Thank PaulGSt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

We were upgraded to a junior suite. It was gorgeous! We had a view of the pool and the ocean. This was unbelievable for the price! I was hesitant about staying in Nuevo Vallarta instead of Puerto Vallarta, but as it turned out we got a better deal. I really like being out in the water and having activities available oceanfront. The other hotels we had considered in Puerto Vallarta had rocks along the water, so you couldn't really go swimming, snorkeling, parasailing, etc. Also, they have several restaurants available in the hotel. YOU NEED TO MAKE RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME! Since the hotel is all inclusive, everything fills up quickly. You need to make reservations at the restaurants immediately after booking your room. The food in the cafeteria/buffet style restaurant is excellent too, but if you want something more formal then you need to reserve before you get there. We really took advantage of the food and alcoholic drinks available, even in the morning!

Room Tip: Ask for a complimentary upgrade if you get there early.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Martha A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

We took our teenagers for Spring Break in 2012 and had a great time, but it wasn't perfect. The one complaint about our room is that the bathtub had a bottom that felt like it was caving in when standing on it. We felt like we were going to fall through. There was also a small bit of mold on the ceiling and at one point there was a leak from the ceiling. Also, be careful if you ask to go to the shopping district. We thought we were going to be taken to the popular place were everyone goes and we were taken in the opposite direction to a smaller flea market. There were very few people there and it was scary.

On the good side, the food at the resort was delicious and the entertainment was fun (although typical). The pool was nice and the beach was beautiful. Overall, they took great care of us and we enjoyed it. The view from the room as fantastic. During that time of year (end of March, beginning of April) it got pretty chilly in the evenings. We won't go back to that particular resort, but that's only because we like to try different places with each trip.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank NurseKiddo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

I just returned from our second trip to this hotel. This year was a mother/daughter trip and we had a fantastic time. We knew what to expect at this hotel and we weren't disappointed. The resort is very clean, the staff are friendly, the food is excellent, the beach is beautiful (big with soft sand) and this hotel is great value for the money. The entertainment troop were wonderful as usual ~ you can be as involved or alone as you wish. I highly recommend this resort - it's in a great location away from the hub of downtown but close enough to bus or taxi in if you wish. I've read reviews where people have complained about the birds in the food areas. The resort does it's best to net and keep the birds away - yes a few clever ones get close to an empty plate after the diner has left but it's not an issue from a food and health perspective. Too many positives at this resort to give credence to the few birds. We'll definitely be back!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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7  Thank abbyford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Vallarta

Address: Av de Los Cocoteros s/n | Lote Hotelero G, Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo Vallarta
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:
#8 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#13 Spa Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range: £119 - £261 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Vallarta 3.5*
Number of rooms: 445
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* In Riviera Nayarit, overlooking the Pacific Ocean * Located on Playa de Flamingos beach, 2 km / 1.5 miles from Nuevo Vallarta * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 9-story building * 3 km / 1.86 miles from various shops * 13 km / 8 miles from the airport * 1 km / 0.62 miles from Flamingos Golf Club * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Vallarta Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
Riu Vallarta Nuevo

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