If you smoke or if your friends smoke and smoke doesn’t bother you much, this is a nice resort. If you are a non-smoker and cigarette smoke bothers you, avoid this resort. They encourage smoking here—they set out ashtrays everywhere. People smoke in the lobby, in the rooms, in the public washrooms and in the open air restaurants, besides pool-side and on the beach. It’s hard to get away from the smoke. We tried two different rooms and it was the same in both: When we turned over in bed at night, a toxic cloud of fumes puffed out of the mattress, gagging and waking us.
I reviewed a hotel down the beach to the west last year. It too was nice enough except for the ninety percent or higher smoking rate. This hotel is a little better—maybe only sixty percent smokers—but while the other place did not allow smoking in the open-air restaurants, Rio Jalisco puts out ashtrays on every table. It’s hard for a non-smoker to enjoy food or anything else when they’re gagging on smoke. At the open-air theater—ashtray on every table—one individual positioned himself strategically upwind of the entire audience and smoked a cigar through the entire show the one night we tried to attend, despite many dirty looks from other guests. He managed to clear a swath of tables downwind from himself. It’s hard not to ascribe malicious intent to this kind of anti-social behavior.
One plus for this hotel is that the volume of the music by the pools is reasonable. This is rare to find in Mexico. The standard in Mexico is to turn the music up till it distorts, then leave it there. One exception to sane volume is when the activities coordinators are holding the microphones but they are working with the younger guests who are accustomed to insane volume levels even at home. The theater volume is loud, as well, but I gather that most people like it that way.
There is free wifi in the lobby, albeit little better than dial-up speed. WiFi will not even reach around the corner into the lobby bar.
The buffets are quite good. There are two of them—one big and noisy, the other smaller and quieter. The smaller one, the Mexican restaurant, is closed half the time. It’s open on weekends, when they bring in Mexicans by the busload. The hotel ruins both buffets by placing various very noisy gambling/competition events just outside the open entrances. Gamblers are smokers, it seems, and the smoke blows into the eating areas inside the buffets.
Outside of the buffets (open air) there is a big seating area for smokers (ashtray on every table) and nothing for non-smokers.
A la cartes: First, there is the requirement of lining up at eight o’clock in the morning to book an a la carte restaurant for two days ahead, one day at a time. If you’re on the ball you can get in four a la cartes in a one-week vacation.
The Brazilian a la carte is located in the Nayarit, a snack bar by day, specialty restaurant by night. The food and service were both excellent but they rushed us through in about an hour. It could have been enjoyable if they hadn’t treated it like an Olympic speed event. As it was, we didn’t bother to make a second booking of this restaurant after suffering indigestion from the frenetic pace of the meal.
At the steak house, they had a live one-man band that opened with a moaning Vietnam-war protest song and went downhill from there: Too loud and off key. The food and service was excellent but they encouraged the smokers by putting an ashtray on every table. They didn’t rush us at this restaurant—we were in there for one hour and forty-five minutes but with the smokers and too-loud ‘music,’ it was a bit of an endurance test. We didn’t go back there, either.
The Asian a la carte was excellent: Inside, so no smoking. Good food and service. Buffet style so you can eat at your own pace. We went there three times.
It’s unfortunate, given the high quality of the food here, that the hotel would go cheap with the drinks. They have no cream here—only milk—so they can’t make a proper Spanish coffee. They use ice-cream in the Spanish coffee instead of whipped cream; it’s not the same. They have no Triple Sec, so they can’t make a proper margarita; they use some premix instead. The alcohol in the in-room bars is of lowest quality. I realize that many of the guests don’t care what kind of solvent they get drunk on so this may not be a concern for others. The beer, at least, is not bad, a 4.3% Dos Equis.
Lot’s of kids, lots of noise from the kids. Room is nice but is reminiscent of a three star resort in some ways: floor lamp lists ten degrees off vertical, sink is cracked, lower door panel has two privacy-compromising splits all the way through of one eighth of an inch in width, dresser drawers all ill-fitting and some of them don’t close because they bump into the other drawers.
The food and beverage manager is a nice-looking young blonde woman who has done an outstanding job. The restaurants are clean, the variety, presentation and quality of the food is excellent, the waiters are sharply uniformed and hardworking. The manager also sets a fine example in her appearance: nicely coiffured, elegantly dressed, an example that is almost totally lost on the guests. A few of the ladies dress up nicely but most of the guests are an embarrassment to behold. If flip-flops, T-shirts, shorts and baseball caps worn backwards is your idea of appropriate dinner wear for an elegant restaurant, then this is the resort for you. Others have complained about the weekend Mexican guests being pushy and rude. I think they’re well-matched to the Canadian guests who come here. If you want any semblance of sophistication and decorum, look elsewhere. The vast majority of the guests here, whether Canadian or Mexican, are far removed from polite society and would appear to be more at home in beer barns, bingo halls and fast food restaurants.
The only facet of the spa that we used was the gym, where we tried to exercise three times per week. The equipment is pretty well worn out and the weight/resistance machines were few in number, preventing a full-muscle workout. There were three treadmills---one I didn't feel was safe enough to use---two, though noisy and rickety, did the job.
My wife and I are finally finished with our budget resort experiment and will no longer try slumming it in places like Rio Jalisco. It’s just not worth it for the price you pay when, for another one to two thousand dollars a week, we hope we will be able to enjoy a five star, adults-only resort.
Rooms that face the inner courtyard are noisy. If you want quieter rooms, get and outside-facing roo...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC