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“A very nice vacation” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya

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Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Ranked #35 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Markham, ON Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A very nice vacation”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya from March 1 to March 8. Tour operator was Sunwing and we were flying from Toronto.

Having stayed 3 years ago at the Riu Tequila just down the street we were familiar with the Riu setup and Playa del Carmen in general. It's the only southern destination we've ever returned to. Easy access to town, nice beaches and great food make for a pleasing vacation for us.

Beautiful lobby greeted us as we entered and very friendly and helpful staff at the reception desk. We checked in to our junior suite, facing north on the outer perimeter of the hotel overlooking "The Reef" hotel. Nice and quiet. The room was very clean with the bedroom (king size bed) on one level and a seating area with Sony LCD flatscreen a couple of steps down. Nice enough room but to be honest I wasn't "wowed". I expected a little more of a Palace. Despite

Arriving at 11pm we decided to walk around the grounds and they were truly immaculate. There are two pools - an infinity pool overlooking a regular pool. Both very nice but we preferred the former as it was slightly warmer. Lots of chairs available but the best spots go quickly. Lots of shady spots available under the palm trees for those that need respite from
the sun. Swim up pool bar available as well as waiter service.

The beach is framed by palm trees on either side for shade and closer to the water it becomes open. It was very windy during our weeks stay and we were happy to have the palm trees provide some protection from the sand whipping across the beach. The beach is very nice. We did find that the ocean floor was very uneven, and in combination with the high waves (due to the wind) and undercurrent meant that you had to be careful. The padding on the beach chairs could do with replacing as some were getting a bit worse for wear. Waiter service is available on the beach closer to the hotel (a fence divides the two sections) but service is a little less frequent than around the pool.

Reservations for the specialty restaurants are taken in the south east corner of the lobby bar between noon and 3pm, for the same day and the next. Seatings are at 6.30 and 8.45 (except for the steak restaurant which is 7 and 8.30). We tried the Japanese, Brazilian and Mexican restaurants, the latter two being our favourites. I have always found that the hotels try hard to replicate international flavours but don't quite manage with those cultures that are not similar to their own. E.g. in the Japanese restaurant the sushi had no raw fish - smoked salmon was the closest to raw, and some of the rolls contained cream cheese - a very odd ingredient. The buffet restaurant is excellent for both breakfast and dinner. Lots of options and nobody should have any difficulty finding something that they like. Service in the restaurants and throughout the hotel is excellent and the staff are very friendly - our best experience of any hotel and any southern destination.

Claudia, the bartender at the bar where shows are performed was fantastic - very funny and provided excellent drink suggestions and service. We had a few memorable nights propped up at the bar watching the very good shows (Michael Jackson, Broadway and Disco).

Internet access is free in the lobby, supposedly for max. 90 minutes but I don't believe it's regulated at all as I was never kicked off. In-room wi-fi costs $10/hour, $15 for 3 hours or $39 for 3 days, although don't quote me on that because I couldn't find it listed anywhere and I'm going on what I was told in person by a staff member.

Guests are predominantly Canadian and US with others from South America and Europe. We only encountered one staff member whose English wasn't very good. Guests tend to be on the older side but there's people of all ages staying there.

Overall I would definitely recommend the RPRM. Apart from a few minor gripes we were very happy with the hotel. Sunwing on the other hand had a delayed flight to Mexico and another (3 hours) on the return leg - we'll think twice before using them again.

Room Tip: Use the "Do Not Disturb" signs if you are in your room otherwise the staff will want to co...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank DontLikeSnow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
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Woodside, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2012

Simple, easy-to-stroll layout with buildings surrounding a central courtyard. Marble, chandeliers, patterned upholstery, solid wood paneling, velvet cushions - "palace-certified" for sure. Staff was friendly, courteous and helpful. Hotel rooms were nice but need an upgrade, especially with the ventilation system (IE: installation of bathroom exhaust needed) as everything constantly felt & smelled damp. Clothes & towels that got wet never fully dried my whole trip & returned with a funk. Cocktails were watered down except at the the lobby piano bar - you'll find the mixed drinks mixed well there. Resort-hop! as your 'Riu Palace' bracelet allows you same access rights to the other Riu resorts within the area so you can have fun exploring, beaching, dining & socializing at the other locations.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SANEinaCRAZYwrld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2012

This was a perfect place to spend a week in Febuary! The staff was absolutely amazing to us. My husband wanted to Golf at 4 area courses, the front desk made all the tee times, got him discounts, and cars! The beach was beautiful, turquoise waters, clean , private, palm trees created shade, a shirt 20min. Walk to Playa for some shopping..the accommodations were wonderful, roomy balcony.. We loved it, and will return!

  • Stayed February 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SuZztravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
252 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2012

We spent 4 days at the Yucatan and were offered a FREE 3 day upgrade to the Palace Riviera Maya, so we figured why not give it a try. Here are my comparisons to Yucatan.

Lobby

The Palace is much more grand.... Marble floors vs tile, totally enclosed vs open air, much larger space. The lobby bar has twice as much seating with nicer tables and chairs. Servers will wait on you for drinks vs more self service at the Yucatan lobby. Both offer free WIFI in their lobbies.

Rooms

The Palace rooms are junior suites with a two level room with a seperate sunken living space with a couch for 3 and flat screen TV. The Yucatan has no couch and has old style TV's. You get the same channels in both. The floors are marble vs tile. We actually had a KING bed vs 2 doubles pushed together and didn't feel the need for a mattress topper at the palace. Both have mini fridges and liquor dispensors. The difference being the Palace bottles are ALL brand names. Absolut, bacardi, Jose and BRANDY.... Yucatan had no brandy. The only downside to the PALACE rooms is that we could hear all the sounds from the long hallways all through the night. This did not happen at Yucatan as the blocks of rooms are small and no interior hallways. You actually get a card for your room key vs an actual KEY at the Yucatan and the safe is electronic with a code vs a lock and key at Yucatan

Beaches

These resorts share basically the same beach... they are just 500-700m or so away from each other. There are a few hotels between the 2 of them. Both have gorgeous white sand, and beautiful water. There are more Palm trees to lay under at the Palace if you are a shade seeker. Was surprised they didn't offer drink service on the beach. Being a Palace, we were expecting this. It's a long walk from the beach/water to the pool bar.


Food

We had 1 buffet dinner and 2 ala cartes while we were here. At the buffet they actually seat you vs grabbing your own table at Yucatan. Service slightly more attentive as they seemed to have much more staff. The food quality and how they present it also better. We ate at the Steakhouse and Fancy Gourmet restaurants. Enjoyed BOTH meals. Steak isn't exactly the best I have had but was tasty and cooked properly. They bring a tray of Caesar salad and assorted seafood as well. The wine is actually bottled wine and they will leave the bottle. They offer a Chilean Merlot and Chilean CAB SAV. Again, it was ok but MUCH better wine than the Yucatan. Our fav meal was the Fancy Gourmet. It's a small restaurant but service was awesome and the food was different. Portions are small so if you are a big eater stick to buffet. We had SEA BASS and it was very tasty and well cooked. All the ala carte restaurants offer 2 seatings. 6 and 8:45 I believe.....These need to be booked in the lobby area. We lunched at the restaurant near the beach and they serve very similar food to the Yucatan lunch spot. but they don't allow food to be taken out of restaurant and no barefeet and shirts required I believe - which is not the case at Yucatan

Pools

Basically they have an Endless pool and the main pool. The main pool is very wide with fountains right in the pool, built in loungers on the 2 ends and a huge pool bar that faces inside to the property. The pools are much bigger than the Yucatan but only 1 pool bar vs 2 at the Yucatan. The pool bar area has seperate horseshoe areas in which you can get a group to sit around and party and drink and thats excatly what happens. The pool bar is VERY lively nd busy ALL day long. Much busier than Yucatan bars. But the bartenders work very hard and you never really have to wait very long for any drink. Tipping will expedite your service:) .

There is a 24 hour sports bar in the lobby area. We walked in a few times around midnite and there would be a few young people (20 somethings) there but not a real party place while we were there. I think many walk over to the Tequila disco. The night life is very dead at this resort. The Lobby bar closes at 12:00 whereas the Yucatan Lobby bar is open ALL night till 7:00am. The only place to get drinks after midnight is the 24 hour sports bar.

We enjoyed our 3 days here and if you can get a half decent deal here it is definitely an upgrade to the Yucatan. I have reviewed the Yucatan as well if you want to get a more detailed review

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Mike S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lewis Center, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 March 2012

Just returned from a week at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya. On the surface, the experience was good. Good service, clean and spacious accommodations. Nice pool. The beach is the greatest benefit--wide,soft sand, easy access and there's space under the palm trees in the shade or directly in the sun depending on your preference. I also never felt like I was sitting elbow to elbow with other guests--something we noticed at other resorts when we walked down the beach.

The pool bar is just steps away from the beach and the staff bring drinks around often. Chili's open air restaurant serves lunch and snacks all day next to the pool/bar.

There was a good variety of food on the buffets and as it wasn't a busy week, we had no problems getting reservations at 3 of the 5 specialty restaurants throughout the week. We could have eaten at the others but chose to go back to Krystal twice (the best). Breakfast was our favorite meal because you could get made to order omelets, pancakes and french toast.
If you stay at this Riu or Riu Palace Mexico a few doors down, you can eat breakfast and lunch at the other Riu's in Playacar. But the food is virtually the same at both.

You can't beat the location--it's the best of the Riu resorts in the Playacar complex and closest to town. Just a 15-minute walk past resorts and upscale houses and you're on Playa Del Carmen's 5th avenue. You can get there a few minutes faster on the beach. Five minutes in the other direction there is a quaint little shopping area in the Playacar Complex (complete with Starbucks).

The beds were more comfortable than other travellers reported--a nice king. We did ask for the mattress topper when we checked in which housekeeping delivered within minutes. Our maid did an excellent job keeping our room clean and stocked daily. If you want to ensure that your needs are met, do leave a nice tip every day. We asked for extra bottled water and diet soda the first day and didn't have to ask again the rest of the week. The floors and hallways are all tile and are mopped religiously every day.

I only had two concerns with this resort--the room, although spotlessly clean, smelled very musty. The smell clung to everthing including my suitcase. In speaking to other guests, they said they have not encountered this in other Caribbean resorts. It was really too hot to leave the sliders open at night to air the room out.

My other, bigger complaint is the beach towel policy. They gave each guest a towel card at check in. You could exchange it once per day at the pool for a clean towel. If you lose your card, you pay $20 for another one. There were three days we didn't use the pool or beach. On the last day, we returned from a snorkeling trip to Cozemel at 4 p.m. and were told there were no more clean towels. Our room wasn't close to the pool so I didn't want to waste the time to retrieve a towel from my room. That's unacceptable to me. An upscale all inclusive beach resort should not run out of towels. It may seem small, but I came here to sit on the beach and was really disappointed in the way the Riu horded their towels. The towel boy referred me to the front desk but it was a long walk. When I checked out, the desk staff seemed unconcerned with my complaint saying only with a shrug, 'well maybe we had a lot of people check in that day."

But the wait staff in the restaurants were friendly and responsive, always at your elbow to take away your empty plates or bring you another beer or glass of wine.

If you are fan of mixed drinks, ask them to pour you a double. Those I had were pretty watered down and I'm not much of a drinker. This is a Dos Equis resort and they serve only two kinds of red Mexican wine--both pretty bad. They do have a Chilean cabernet in Krystal that's better. Several times I got a margarita or daquiri from the pool bar and poured more rum or tequila from the mini bar in our room.

Entertainment is over by 11 p.m. and the bars stop serving promptly at midnight. One night we were in the lobby bar surfing the internet and they started turning the lights out on us!

Room Tip: Pay the higher rate for a Jr. Deluxe Suite with a courtyard view. But there are only elevators off...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank amyj01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cowes, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 March 2012

On both visits to the Riu Palace Riviera Maya I experienced excellent service from all staff in addition to a fantastic range of food and activites.

I would not hesitate to recommend the RPRM, it is a great resort with excellent staff.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CO80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abbotsford BC Canada
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2012

Just returned for the second time visit to Riu Palace Riviera Maya. This time around I needed a nice rest and this place did it. The staff were excellent and the my room (which faced the main court yard) was always clean and comfy. I did find the food a bit boring after awhile, but the quality was always very good. A nice walk down the road one way leads to Star Buck and a few stores. The other was leads to Playa del Carmen and all the landsharks.....all part of the package.
Still, I do recommend this excellent but small All inclusive.

Room Tip: Keep in and, that rooms that end in 85-90 face directly into the court yard AND stage areas. So if...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Zymeout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Address: Av Xaman-Ha Mza 9 y 10 Lote 1 Int.Fracc. | Fase II Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
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:
#20 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#27 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#29 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya 4*
Number of rooms: 400
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Riu Riviera Maya
Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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