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“Beautiful Grounds, Lovely Place, but a loud party atmosphere” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Riu Santa Fe

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Hotel Riu Santa Fe
Ranked #36 of 70 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Pittsburgh, PA
Level Contributor
194 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“Beautiful Grounds, Lovely Place, but a loud party atmosphere”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2012

Stayed 8 nights April 28-May 6, 2012 with wife and 9 friends.

I’ll start by saying I’ve been on multiple cruises and many all-inclusives in Mexico, Punta Cana, Jamaica, Costa Rica, etc. This was one of the most fun we’ve been to, of course with the exception of the rough ocean water. Also this place is loud – so if you’re old and cranky or young with kids and want to have a family vacation – I recommend you look elsewhere. We went knowing that swimming in the ocean would be tough, but everything you’ve been told is pretty accurate and the waters are very rough outside the resort. The top part of the beach is nice and flat with plenty of chairs and beach volleyball, but closer to the water there’s a good 25 degree slope which makes it really difficult to walk down the beach far distances. We walked to Cabo one day – we went halfway on the beach, and eventually made our way to the road to finish out the hike. Took a cab back ($25 for 10 of us). For you health nuts, I’m sure it’s no big deal – however we’re a relatively fit group and were exhausted and wishing we had some sort of sand-shoes along the lines of snowshoes to make the walking easier.

Check-In was painless – it was quick and included a welcome drink. The lobby is nice and big and impressive. The grounds are immaculate everywhere – down to the point where you’d see guys with scrub brushes on the sidewalks and with rags washing every inch of intricate iron benches. The restaurant reservation process is for the birds – it’s very A) Complicated and B) Just a pain. It’s OK because our group took turns assigning duties and we got in every of the “specialty” restaurants 4 nights in a row (Asian, Steak, Italian, and Mexican). Our reservation times were for 9pm each night for a group of 11, which is the same time as the nightly “show” - but believe me you aren’t missing anything with the live entertainment here. We stayed at the Riu in Guanacaste (Costa Rica) and the shows were equally as painful to watch. Granted it’s something to do, but if there were ONE area where Riu could really invest and take things to the next level: it’d be to for out some cash & put together some better shows. A few laughs here and there, but 90% waste of your time.

We showed ourselves to our rooms which were in building 7. Building 7 is the furthest from the lobby, but the closest to the beach and infinity pools. It’s somewhat of a hike, but only a 5 minute brisk walk to get to the building. We opted for a standard room, while some friends had “Oceanview” – which consisted of a neck jarring look to the left to catch the ocean & cabo out of the corner of your eye. They agreed it was a waste of money and in hindsight would have opted for the standard room. Our balcony faced the main pathway and was often very loud at night into the wee hours (like 4:30am) with late night party animals stumbling their way back to their rooms making a ton of noise. Noise carries thru the balcony into your room and bounces loudly! We managed to (accidentally) time our trip around Canadian spring break (Eh?!?) – which filled the resort with Canucks. All were fun & friendly, but I’ll stress again – this was the heartiest partying atmosphere of all the all-inclusives we’ve been to. We were told the resort was only booked around 40%, however the infinity pool bar(s) and plaza bars were generally JUMPING with people depending on the time of day. Our room was nice – although as I said we were in building 7, and all of us in that building had 2 double beds pushed together. We made it work, but a king would’ve been nice. Our friends who had 3 rooms in Building 4 all had king beds, and they also had a 3rd outside door which they could close & lock which allowed them to treat their rooms like adjoining rooms. The balconies were all large and the safes functioned well. For all of you who need conditioner for your hair, please bring your own – they only provide shampoo & body wash in small individual size packets (slightly bigger than ketchup packets), and bar soap. Not that you’re there to watch TV, but I was also surprised to see the TV’s were not flatscreens. I should also mention one of the people in our group had a few problems with their room, and called for maintenance 3 times each time being told they'll be right there, only to wait 45 minutes with nobody arriving. They ended up switching rooms.

As with any place like this, we were dying for anything but a sugary drink by the 5th day, so we did our best to bounce around the drink menu. The bartenders were generally very friendly and prompt, however sometimes at the busier times it was tough to get a drink. As with all places like this, do yourself a favor and visit your bank before you go, and grab a stack of $1 bills for tipping. If you’re in a group, ask for the “rainbow shots”. If you’re not in a group, make friends with others at the bar and still order rainbow shots – pretty slick watching them get poured!! The shot glass washing process at the bars consisted of the bartender running the shotglasses under the sink water and wiping them out with his fingers. Pretty disgusting really… but what can you do other than say no to the shots or bring your own! Oh and don’t break a glass at the bar – or you’re forced/peer pressured via CHANTING into chugging a triple shot of house tequila. The beer brand is Dos Equis, and in some places you can find the “amber” version for a different taste. Brands of liquor included Tanguary Gin, Cuervo Tequila, Smirnoff Vodka, Jim Beam whiskey, and a variety of other medium shelf liquors and no name recipes for hangovers. The sports bar serves drinks all night long – which is nice – although the atmosphere is so BRIGHT that it’s totally un-inviting – but maybe that’s on purpose. The food options at the sports bar should only be used in EMERGENCY situations – because it’s JUNK. Literally pre-cooked burgers & hot dogs, and stale sandwiches in plastic containers which melt in the microwave. They also have stryrofoam plates which also melt in the microwave – so heating up this mess is not easy! Only if you’re completely wasted and starving does this food option taste good.

Service is great – the staff is constantly cleaning your table with a smile on their faces, sometimes before you’re ready. We ate at each specialty restaurant – all of which we were satisfied with mostly all the entrees we chose. I’d say of all the all-inclusives we stayed at, this was some of the better food we’ve had. Not quite as good as you’d get on a cruise ship, but less crowded and better than most people eat for dinner on a night out. Plus bottomless beer, wine, and soft drinks on tap at all the buffets & restaurants which you’d bend over for on a cruise! Buffets got a little repetitive as expected, but they did add some new variety each day which helped break the monotony. The red wine was not very good, but the white wine was decent. The Dos Equis gets a little old as well, but I’m sure they could get a lot worse of a beer on tap.

The infinity pool seemed to be colder than the other main pool, however the infinity pool offered a view of the beach, ocean, and beautiful southern tip of the Baja peninsula. So, we spent some time at both pools. The main pool offered more quiet, however the swim up pool bar was not open. You had to get out of the water and walk around to the other side of the bar (boo hoo) to refill a drink. Down at the infinity pool(s), there are 2 swim up bars and they both open at 10 and close at 6 (same hours as the main pool bar). There’s a bathroom convenient to the infinity pools, but it’s definitely a chore to get to a restroom from the main pool – my wife said the one near the buffet there was stinky & disgusting on multiple days which kind of surprised me.

We booked a boat shuttle through Olympus Tours in the lobby for $12ea which included a van pickup (we got 11am), over to Baja Sports where you hop on a boat, they take you around the arch, give you some history, then drop you off over at Lovers or Pelican beach where you can hang out & snorkel. You have to schedule your pickup though, which we opted for 2:30 shuttle back which didn’t give us enough time – so in hindsight we’d allow ourselves some more time over there. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & a GREAT DEAL for this at only $12 per person for all that! If you don’t do anything else, do this. 10 of us also booked a Zipline tour which was fun, but nothing special compared to the awesome ziplining I got to do in Costa Rica. The zipline place also makes their own tequila, shows you the process, and lets you taste 3 nice tequilas – normally it’d make me puke and have flashbacks from when I was 21, but not this stuff – it was nice! Also spent a little time in downtown Cabo, but not much time. Walked around a bit, checked out Cabo Wabo (Cool place, but beers are $6 in there, or across the street for 5/$10). From what we learned at the zipline tour, Cabo Wabo is garbage tequila and you should always look on the label for 100% Pure Agave for the “good stuff”.

I would recommend people to go, but coming from the east coast of the US, I’d rather stick to the Caribbean where the waters are calmer and swimmable. But now we can check Cabo off the bucket list! Thanks Riu! I’ve stayed in Ritz’s and I’ve stayed in Motel 6’s… this place is a lot closer to a Ritz than a Motel 6 – they make you feel extremely welcome and like the guest is the priority. You’ll have some fun here, that’s for sure.

Room Tip: Building 7 is the furthest from the lobby, but closest to ocean & infinity pools. Avoid this bu...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank TomStax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7,375 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2,181)
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English first
usa
Level Contributor
33 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2012

Las vegas meets Cabo-
Pros- rooms are clean, plenty of eye candy
Cons- ocean view is not really ocean view- you cannot go in the water in front of the hotel

Bottom line- take the shuttle for 15 us per person to and from airport- taxi service is a racket

They only serve draft dos equis beer and pepsi only- no coca-cola and no high end whiskey

place is massive and age ranges vary and plenty of pools for quiet or party but bring sandals

you get tired of seeing the same people and they get tired of seeing you but the all inclusive cuts down on the nickel and diming you to death.

if you have some hours and want to make some cash, go do a timeshare tour and after 2 hours they gave me 220us but it was a hussle.

I would not stay here again

Room Tip: room 7333- has true ocean views but you can also here all the pool activities- we changed room four...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 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?
1 Thank seeitwhileyoucan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2012

We recently stayed here in April, 2012 and had a great time. The resort is very large with many pools and lots of stuff for the kids to do. We went with another family and their child and had a great time. The food was good and the pools were really nice. The only complaint were the mosquitos in our room when we arrived. We were on the bottom floor and when we got to our room it was full of mosquitos, we spent a half hour killing all the mosquitos and then they came and sprayed our room. The problem was when the cleaners came, they left the doors open and more just flew back in. Our friends were on a higher floor and did not have this problem, so maybe it was just the bottom floor. If you go, keep an eye on your things down at the pool. We had a pair of sandals stolen and we were sitting right there.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cengstr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2012

This Hotel is Awesome to say the least. Very clean rooms, 2nd to none staff, The nightly shows are magnificent. Food was excellent for mexican resort. Tips for travel: Always ask Taxi ($12 each way ) to take you to Marina when going for food or shopping. The local bus comes to gate every so often and only cost 1 dollar per passenger.

Room Tip: Ask for Building 7 if you want best view of Ocean but Building 7 can be a little noisy if your looki...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 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?
3 Thank Stoney Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Forest Park, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2012

This was our first experience in Mexico. The resort if very beautiful. You can take gorgeous pictures almost anywhere. But it is HUGE. Bring comfortable shoes and, ladies, don't plan on wearing any sky heels. Also, don't expect any special treatment or for anyone to remember your name. The resort is just too big for that. The rooms are updated and nice. WARNING: The hotel claims that it doesn't consider any room a "partial ocean view", even though this is how it's classified on travel websites and with our travel agent. We changed rooms 3 times trying to get the "full ocean view" that we paid extra for. In the end, the view was just that - full and incredible. If you go be sure to take the inexpensive $30 boat ride and tour to lover's beach. It includes a tasting of the yummiest tequila you'll ever have...we brought home 3 bottles!

The one huge pool that is the same depth all the way around (very nice for not so great swimmers) and two smaller pools with swim up bars, cool jacuzzis, even seating areas with tables right in the water. Also, all are infinity pools which is really cool. The bars are fully stocked with call brands (Smirnoff, Kaluha, Tanqueray, Bacardi, etc). The food was also surprisingly good.

Room Tip: The building that has the "ocean view" rooms is U-shaped. If you want any kind of decent v...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MrsRamirez9510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CANADA
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2012

We have stayed here 3 times before and never been dissapointed, This time we were in a party of eight and all we can say is that everything was just perfect. The food has always been good but this time we have to say it was excellent, the service and staff could not do enough for us and really made us feel welcome.
The grounds are perfectly manicured and the pools are large and clean. A nice touch this time was Alexandro going around the pool with a drinks cart making whatever you wanted by your lounger.
The rooms are kept spotless and well maintained and as we necer saw a cloud in the sky the whole week we were there, this was probably one of our best holidays ever, we cant wait to go again.

Room Tip: For a sea view you have to be in building number 7, but if you want to be at the centre of things bu...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank REPEAT24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2012

Nice comfortable room and clean. There are several restaurants to pick from you just have to remember to make a reservation but otherwise there was the main buffet that always had an incredible selection. The pool what great. This resort is very big but we don't mind walking so not that big of deal. This resort allows kids but there really isn't anything for the kids to do except for at 9pm at night when they have the shows, so if you are traveling as a family, I would recommend a resort that has some kid entertainment. A few leftover spring breakers so it was interesting. The downside is, if you like to have some cocktails be prepared as they use the cheapest stuff, without any topshelf options. It was a good vacation, but we will probably stick to the adult only vacation options in the future as we had done prior to this trip.

Room Tip: We were in building 7 which is right by the "party" pool but closest to the beach. We did...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • 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?
Thank Digger39
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

Property: 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:
#20 Top resorts Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#25 Spa Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#31 Family Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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

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