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Hotel Riu Vallarta
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4,891 - 4,896 of 5,631 reviews
Reviewed 3 July 2007

I don't know what people are thinking when they don't speak highly of the Riu Vallarta. My husband and I just took a trip with three other couples and we all had a great time.

We stayed at the Riu in Cabo last year and liked the Riu so much we wanted to stay at the new one in Puerto Vallarta. We really enjoyed the resort.

The food was good. It was not the best food I have ever eaten but what do you expect from a resort that is feeding 1000+ people from all over the world at every meal? I thought the variety was good. The restaurants were decent. We really enjoyed the asian restaurant. The vegetable tempura was wonderful! I will say get up early for reservations. At 7:00am there was at least 30 people in front us in line to make a reservation.

The pool was really warm. It wasn't a refreshing experience but the pool bar made up for that! I will say I liked the fact that security made the kids stay in the kids pool. I don't mind kids but when I am trying to relax and drink a margarita I don't want a kid splashing me...there were enough adults doing it! The beach was nice. One of our friends got stung by a jellyfsh and we stayed out of the ocean for the rest of the trip.

We went to the city for two dinners and I would highly recommend going to the River Cafe! We loved it. Great food and great portions at a great price!

We also did the Vallarta Adventure (zip lines). This was the best excursion I have ever done! For less than $100 per person we got a full day of activity in a small group. The staff was very skilled and made me feel really safe...which is good at that height!

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with friends
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4  Thank TrvlGrl15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2007

We stayed at the Riu Vallarta on June12th - 19th it is a new hotel and is really nice, but hey have issues. We had trouble getting amneties for our room washcloths , soap etc. The pool area was dirty with things ( straws ,etc.) floating in the pool. The bathroom was not convenient a walk away as not many people got out of the pool. We got up to food in the floor (hallways) outside of our room and glasses in the ashtrays, etc. The food was okay , but better at the Jalisco next door, the entertainment okay but didn't start until 10:00 p.m. every night. The cab ride to Puerto Vallarta is $20.00 one way, to a town called Beucerios is about $7.00 one way. We didn't take the snorkeling tour as we were told you get stung by jellyfish and the water wasn't clear enough to snorkel. The beach water is not clear like in Cancun, their were snakes in the water and some long thing with lots of sharp teeth.
We stayed at the pool, the drinks were okay but got hot really fast, so take insulated mug etc. I also got food poisoning from the Nirvana speciality restaurant in the hotel and lost 3 days of my trip due to high fever, cramps, etc. not a good experience. I was not the only one who got sick several other people had the same symptoms and were cutting their trips short. We are going to stay on the Cancun side from now on, the water is a lot more beautiful there.I read reviews about people getting sick from this sameplace but, took my chances. I think next time I will take the reviews more serious.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank nanny39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2007

Before heading off for my vacation I read all the reviews on this site and was prepared not to expect too much and to just have a great time. Once there I could easily see there were some truths as well as some fallacies to the reviews posted.

Airport:
We walked past all the time travel people to discover someone with a "RIU" sign. We didn't think they provided transportation, but still decided to check it out. We asked how much the ride would cost (always do this so there are no surprises at the end of the ride) and it turned out to be free of cost. We just tipped the driver $5. On the return we just took a cab back ($13).

Check-in:
We arrived a few hours before the normal check in time, 3p and had to wait for our room to be cleaned. It was a good opportunity to tour the grounds, have lunch, and enjoy a drink at the lobby bar. Our room was ready at 3p. No bellboy helped take our bags up, but then again we didn't ask for help either...

Rooms:
Very roomy. Large closet and dresser. Large bathroom. Room was cleaned by noon each day. We had room #4065. It was right next to the elevator which wasn’t too much of a problem. The only time I heard anyone in the hall was after 9a in the morning. The ceiling fan helps block out some noise. I brought earplugs, but didn’t need to use them. I would have liked to be a little higher up, but it was still a really great view of the water (could also see while still in bed).

Food:
Flamingos--most romantic restaurant on the property. Main course is brought to you. Steak was very good, though thin. Do not get the ribs (too much dark, fatty meat for my taste).
Nirvana--Buffet style. I didn't try everything, but was pleased with what I had chosen. No fried ice cream the night we were there...
Sir George--didn't have a chance to try
Don Raffel--Breakfast was really good. Large selection and best meal of the day. Also, great for lunch! Preferred this over Flamingo. Dinner was only ok...I am not a picky eater, but was not going back for seconds on anything. I will say, however, that I never went hungry. There is a very large selection, so I'm sure you'll be able to find a few things to enjoy.

Beach:
Shallow water (a little lower than waist deep for me and I am 5'3). The water was clear but not blue due to the tanner colored sand. I was disappointed with what was there and choose to spend each day at the pool.

Pool:
I only spent time at the adult pool. It did get a little loud around 2-3p because this is the time when water volleyball was going on. Sometimes it was a little dirty...It was also pretty warm in the afternoon due to the sun beating down and heating it up. From what I could hear it sounded like there were lots of activities going on at the family pool and all the children were having a great time. I would consider this resort a family resort, but it is easily escaped by spending the day at the adult pool.

I constantly saw staff walking around picking up glasses and when they had time they walked around with a tray full of drinks for your offering. The same goes for on the beach.

One more thing, the towels sort of smell like a used kitchen sponge. It is not unbearable, yet not enjoyable either...

Entertainment:
Family entertainment begins around 8p. It consisted of a band and the children at the resort dancing on the stage and running around. The adult entertainment is scheduled to start at 9:30, but never began before 9:45 (it ended no later than 10:45 and the courtyard was always quite after that). The shows were really not too bad and usually pretty enjoyable (sometimes a little better after a few drinks). We took playing cards (great idea) and enjoyed a few games before and after the entertainment.

Puerto Vallarta:
We took a cab ride into town to the boardwalk ($17 there, $20 back). I was not impressed at all and was a little disappointed. There are lots of places to go out at night (although we didn't) and it is set up for tourists.

Bucerias:
Loved it! Took a cab ($7). This is more of the small town, Mexican lifestyle that I was looking for. I do suggest going in the evening (after 7) because it gets VERY HOT and most places do not have A/C (same in PV). When we went in June and the sun set around 8:40p (check out what time it will set while you're there at: weather.com). It is good to know this so you can plan to eat at the best restaurant in Bucerias called Rogas. This was incredibly delicious and was a highlight of our trip. It looks out on to the beautiful mountains and water and is the perfect roof top setting to watch the sunset (see pictures I've posted). The menu contains Mexican food and seafood and prices range from $8-$15. We both had the seafood and could not have been more pleased. They have great chips and salsa to start with as well as tasty freshly made margaritas. Also on site is a tequila shop with complementary samples. This restraunt is within walking distance from the small town shops, just ask your cab driver where to go before he drops you off. You MUST go!!! Just so you know, if you enter from the lowest street level you will have to take an elevator up. It looks a little sketchy, but I promise it is worth the ride up (go to the 3rd floor). You can also walk up a ways further and enter the restaurant on the 3rd level without taking the elevator.

Shopping:
Everything that I saw in PV and Bucerias was brought to the RIU by vendors. I was there 5 nights and only saw them twice...And there were many more vendors there on Saturday.

Although there are some downsides to the RIU overall it is a good place for an enjoyable, relaxing vacation.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank aeevans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2007

My wife and I went for 4 nights and had a great time. The Riu Vallarta lacks the color and charm of the Jalisco, but I still thought the Vallarta was a very good hotel. Food is good, drinks were very good, room was nice (we had to tip the bellboy to get a nice room, which is the best strategy to use), beach was very clean, water was warm with a sandy surface (no rocks), staff was friendly and we met some great people. All in all, a very good trip. I would recommend it to other couples and families. Tipping is always appreciated and we enjoy doing it .... we maybe tipped $75 total for the five days. Again, if you don't get a nice room on your first try, take care of your bellboy and he will take care of you. It always works for us and that is how those guys make money. The mini-bar and stocked alcohol in the room is quite nice. I always had 6-7 Coronas, an assortment of soft drinks and bottles of tequila, gin, rum and vodka. And, this hotel had the best shower .... great water pressure and plenty of hot water!!

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank Mark K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2007

My wife, six year old son and I stayed at the Riu Vallarta June 22-25. We booked our stay with MLT Worry Free Vacations online. This was our second stay with a Riu hotel, and our 4th in an all inclusive resort. This was one of the best trips we have taken, and we have nothing but good things to say about the resort.

Travel/Worry Free
We traveled from Oklahoma City to Puerto Vallarta direct with Ryan Air (the charter company for worry free,) and had an easy travel day. We left OKC at 6:55am, and were at the hotel for check in at 11 am. The airport at Puerto Vallarta was very easy to navigate, and had a lot fewer of the time share vultures than on our trips to Cancun and elsewhere. A simple no thanks, and we were left alone. On the short ride to the hotel, the worry free rep gave a short history of the area and some travel advice.

Check in/Front desk
Since there was a rather large group of us arriving at the same time, the front desk performed the registration in the lobby bar area. We sat and enjoyed a cool drink, while we received our wrist bands and info on the resort. The added bonus was that all the rooms were ready for check in at 11am!
The lobby is large with lots of marble, chandeliers and seating. It is open air so when you walk in the grand entrance you can look through the lobby and out over the courtyard to the sea. It was also a nice place to enjoy a drink while the breeze from the Pacific gently blows.

Room/Hotel grounds
The hotel just recently opened, and is immaculate. The grounds are beautiful, and if anything the photos don’t do it justice. We had a jr. suite with an ocean view, and were given room 6046. The room is on the 6th floor above the lobby with a balcony looking directly out to the sea. What a view!
The room was spacious. There is a small sitting area with a fold out couch. Our son called this his “room.” The room was nearly identical to the one we had when staying at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. We had a large restroom with Jacuzzi tub, mini bar (with sodas, beer and liquor dispensers above the fridge) and king size bed. I am happy to report there was no mold. However, there is a slight musky smell to the entire resort, but it isn’t unpleasant. It was the same as at our other beach resort stays.

Pools/Beach
There are two large pools with lots of loungers. One pool for adults with the swim up bar, and the other is the family pool with water slides. Both pools have the built in loungers in the water which is nice, and our son liked to play on the platform for the lounger as he is not a strong swimmer. Conner loved the slides and had a blast in the pool, but once he got in the ocean he could’ve cared less about the pool.
The beach is wide with lots of loungers and palm trees for shade closer to the hotel. Although the water is not the crystal blue of the Caribbean, it had a beautiful gold shimmer. Looking straight down into the water you could see tiny gold flakes shinning in the sun, and when further out from the breaking waves the water is clear enough to see the small fish swimming. One day we even saw a sting ray swim by our boogie board. The resort provides boogie boards for free one hour at a time, and there were plenty available. The waves were great, and we had a lot of fun riding them with and without boogie boards.
In the evening lots of people gather on the beach to watch the sun set. It was a great time to take photos in the soft light, and to just enjoy the sun setting behind the mountains of the bay.

Food/Bars
We didn’t eat at the reservation restaurants, but they take reservations daily from 7 am to 11 am. I did inquire one morning about 10 am, and there were still available seatings except at Sir George. So there really is no need to be there at the break of dawn until the day you want to dine at Sir George. The buffet was one of the better of any AI place we have stayed, and my wife compared it to Sandals.
One special night at the buffet the head chef carved a green apple into a swan for our son, and this is the first thing he tells everyone about his vacation to Mexico. The staff at the hotel are all top notch, and willing to go the extra step to make your stay special.
There are plenty of bars, and the drinks were good. If asked, they will use the brand name liquor, but if not (just like at any bar) they will use the well. They will also mix non-alcoholic drinks for the kids.

Puerto Vallarta/Excursions
You have to go into Puerto Vallarta to the boardwalk and flea market. The town has old world charm with small local shops. There is plenty of shopping, dinning and clubs for anything you want. Lots of photo opportunities. I think we took about 50 pictures in just 3 hours on afternoon.
We booked the dolphin encounter through our worry free rep with Vallarta Adventures. We had a great time, and the center is only about 5-10 minutes from the resort.

Final note
One last thing for the complainers of the resort/food not being “5 star.” We stayed at an Embassy Suites the night before our flight in Oklahoma City, and paid $159 for the night with no meals included, no ocean view, and no smiling staff asking if we needed anything. We paid about $200 a night to stay at the Riu Vallarta with all the above and much more. The Riu Vallarta is a luxury hotel at a bargain price.
We highly recommend the hotel, and will be happy to answer any emails.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank dandktulsaok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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