TripAdvisor Traveller Reviews
This was a two-family holiday with adults (late 30's) and children (ages 11-15). This was our first stay at this property, and first time to the Nuevo Vallarta area. My family typically visits an...
This was a two-family holiday with adults (late 30's) and children (ages 11-15). This was our first stay at this property, and first time to the Nuevo Vallarta area. My family typically visits an all-inclusive in Mexico 1-2 times per year including Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan (not anymore though), Cabo, Cancun and the Mayan Riviera. We have been to PVR a lot, and very much enjoy the area. Our preferred resort in PVR is Now Amber.
Info on arriving at PVR airport is well documented on Tripadvisor, so I won't add anything further other than to say we arranged a private transfer to the resort with Superior and were very happy with the service. They had a rep waiting at the airport waiting for us so as soon as we came out, there was a sign with my name on it to greet us. We were in our van in about 3 minutes after exiting the airport with cold bottled water provided. Drive to the resort was about 20 minutes.
A quick note to anyone booking with Sunwing - when we got to the resort we realized that we knew a few people who had taken the included bus transfer. They reported that the bus had left the airport within about 25 minutes, and they were all given their keys and resort documents while in transit from the airport to the resort. The bus had passengers going to the Rui Palace and one other resort, but the Palace was the first stop. Knowing this now means I wouldn't bother booking a private transfer to this resort in the future if we book with Sunwing.
Check-in was smooth, with the front desk staff being the friendliest of any resort we've ever been to hands down. Anyone who has travelled knows that the front desk staff are usually a weak link, even in an excellent resort. Every single interaction we had with the front desk staff at this property left us very impressed!
THE GROUNDS - UPKEEP
The property is not huge, but the grounds are beautiful and extremely well maintained. As others have said, there are always staff about cleaning and ensuring everything is in excellent condition.
We had several junior suites booked including one adjoining. Their setup isn't quite how most adjoining rooms are configured. As you walk down the main hallway there are "sub-hallway's" that branch off on each side, and at the end of each of these there are two doors - one to the right, and one to the left, allowing access into two different rooms. In the case of an adjoining room, there is an additional door at the start down each of the "sub-hallways" that can be closed and locked, allowing the two doors into the actual rooms to be left open so you can move back and forth between them. We liked this setup.
You enter into a dressing room/foyer/closet area, with a bathroom to one side. Each room had a large bathroom with jetted tub and double sinks all in one room (there is no separate toilet which would have been nice). The foyer area also had the mini-bar stocked with full bottles of tequila, rum, vodka, and brandy. There is also a small fridge with bottled water and pop, and a coffee maker with coffee supplied.
We had a king sized bed in our room, and our kids had two doubles in their room. The resort had them pushed together, so we just pulled them apart to give the kids their own space. Each room has a step-down sitting area with a couch, coffee table, and small table with two chairs. A sliding door leads out onto the balcony which had two plastic chairs (new and in good condition) and a wall-mounted drying rack (very handy).
Our only complaint about our room was with the fitted mattress cover they had on our king-sized bed. It was plastic like you'd put on a child's bed to keep the mattress safe from bed-wetting, and every single movement made a plastic, crinkly, VERY annoying noise that woke us both up. We should have removed it because it was VERY frustrating! I don't think the beds in our kids rooms had this type of cover on their beds.
For whatever reason they didn't include a water purification system in this resort when they built it. Why any new resort wouldn't build one into their property seems ridiculous to me, especially a 5-star resort. Having said that, bottled water is readily available and they give you as many large bottles in your room as you like (if you need more just ask). You can also get smaller 500ml bottles from all the bars around the resort. Just to be on the safe side we used bottled water for drinking and brushing out teeth. We drank the water served in the restaurants and the bars without any issue.
Housekeeping did a great job. Rooms were always clean, and everything was always topped up, and plenty of fresh towels provided. One day we came back to our room to find the shower curtain missing. Not sure why they'd remove the shower curtain on a halfway through our stay - I'd like to think the curtain was washed before we arrived, and wouldn't need rewashing until we left and it was prepared for the next guests, but this left us wondering! We called down but they didn't bring one until later that night. We had to have showers before going to supper, so made a bit of a mess.
This property has two buffet restaurants and four a la carte restaurants. The two buffet restaurants alternate hours of operation so that at least one is open all day until supper time when the smaller one becomes their a la carte steakhouse, and the other stays open for supper as a buffet. When we read previous reviews about people choosing to just eat at the buffet and skip the a la carte's we were perplexed. But having been there, we now understand why. The buffet is probably the best buffet of any all-inclusive we've ever been to, and we've been to a lot of all-inclusives. The variety of food was surprising, and the fact that they managed to keep it all fresh impressed us. They were constantly cooking and adding small amounts to each item so it kept it all fresh. There is a lot to choose from, with tons of fresh food. We are not big burger/hot dog/pizza people, so the huge variety of fresh, well prepared food, kept us happy all week. They do offer burgers/hot dogs/pizza.
We are used to resorts like Now and Dreams, that allow us to eat where and when we want. So we found the reservation system at Riu Palace Pacifico very frustrating. We had emailed one supper reservation before we arrived - they will allow you to book one reservation via email prior to arriving at either the Steak House or the Mexican restaurant. You can't book a reservation for the first night at the resort in advance. They didn't have any availability on the second night of our stay, so we pre-booked the Steak House for our third night. When we arrived at the resort they let my wife book one more reservation, and she chose the Mexican. The first night we dined at the buffet, and were very impressed. The second night we walked up to the Asian and were able to get a table once the restaurant determined that other guests who had made reservations didn't show up. This was appreciated. So if you find yourself without a reservation and want to dine at an a la carte, simply show up at either the first or second reservation times and they may be able to get you in. If not, you can simply walk over to the buffet and dine there. We tried to get a reservation for the Fushion restaurant, which is adults only, but the only time they had available was at 9pm on the last night of our stay. This was a family trip, so didn't want to eat our last meal without our kids. Again, we were not impressed with their a la carte reservation system, we found it to be a hassle. Luckily the buffet was very good, or this would have dramatically impacted our decision to stay here in the future. I should mention that their a la carte restaurants are very small, so I do understand why they require reservations.
We enjoyed the food at the Mexican restaurant, and found the service to be very good and well organized.
The Steak House seemed under staffed and disorganized, with everyone scrambling around to get food out. Overall the food here was great if you ordered a steak, but only okay for other items people ordered. I was having trouble deciding between the beef fillet and the lobster tail, so I asked if I could have both. The server said I had to choose one item. This didn't impress me at all given what we'd paid to come here. In the end, he brought me both the steak and the lobster tail, but clearly this was a big deal, and not something they are encouraged to do. The lobster tail was very small as was the steak, so if I hadn't had both, I'd have left starving. Good on the waiter for taking the initiative and bringing me what I'd wanted in the first place. Again, we are used to resorts where we can have whatever we want without being questioned, so found this frustrating.
The Asian restaurant was quite good, and everyone enjoyed their meals. Our family loves good sushi, and we were aware before flying down that this is not a sushi restaurant. They did however, give us an appy plate with a few sushi items/rolls each, and they were pretty good.
The Fusion restaurant is adults only, and hard to get into (at least the week we were there it was). We stopped there one night at their 9pm sitting and they managed to fit us in. The steak was one of the best I've ever had, and presented beautifully. We also had their squash soup which again was absolutely excellent with a wonderful presentation. We felt it was a shame that this was adults only because our kids (between 11 and 15) would have loved to eat here and are more than capable of following appropriate etiquette in these types of restaurants. Service was also excellent. The only place we felt this restaurant was lacking was with their desserts. My wife and her friend both went so far as to say their desserts were some of the worst tasting things they'd ever eaten. Sharp contrast to the rest of the excellent food we ate at the Fusion. I'd suggest dining there and then slipping out to the buffet for dessert there.
My daughter says I need to make sure to mention that they had two chocolate fountains in the buffet at supper time. One milk chocolate and the other white chocolate. They had a good selection of fruit and cookies that you could drizzle chocolate on. Kids loved it.
Note: Inside the pub off the main lobby they have a cooler with packaged sandwiches, cut up fresh fruit, salads, and other snack items. They also had banana bread and such on the bar counter. This was handy when the kids wanted a quick snack.
All the girls went to the show each evening and enjoyed them. All our girls are in dance, acting, etc, so can appreciate the work that goes into these shows. They always enjoyed the show. One night they had some people doing balancing and acrobatic type activities, and said it was very good. The other nights were typical productions put on by resort staff who put a lot of effort into their shows. We all agreed we think they should run their evening show earlier. It starts way too late.
BEACH and POOL
We divided our time between the beach and pool pretty much equally. The beach here is about as close to what we've experienced on the Caribbean side with beautiful sand, and very few rocks. Beach was gradual and didn't get really deep as fast as it does closer into Puerto Vallarta. Some days the waves were huge, and others it was basically flat water. Kids loved it because the resort will lend you a boogie board so you can ride the waves. We never had any issue finding loungers at the beach or the pool. We didn't notice as many people leaving their towels on loungers, never to return. I think it's really ignorant to reserve all day and only use it briefly or not at all. When I arrive in an area I like and see towels "reserving" loungers, I simply remove the towels and use the loungers. If anyone ever shows up I'm more than happy to discuss why I moved their towels.
The pool area had lots of shade if you wanted it, but also areas to get some sun. Every once in a while they did activities in one side of the pool only, so if you wanted a quieter area you could just stay to one side. We found this resort to be very quiet in general.
The fitness facility was pretty good with all newer equipment. I spend a lot of time in the gym, and appreciated that they had some decent cardio equipment and both free weights and machines. Their gym isn't huge, but certainly adequate for working out on holiday's. Was never busy. I was annoyed one day when my 15 year old son wanted to come work out with me and they wouldn't allow him into the gym - he's already a big guy, and comfortable in the gym. We just left and went outside the resort and found some tree's for pull-ups, and an area for squats/push-ups/etc.
They offered quite a few activities, but we stayed pretty busy on our own so didn't partake much. They advertised that they offered shooting at 10am each morning, so decided to give it go. We arrived at the designated area to find nobody there. After waiting about 20 minutes a guy eventually arrived with the pellet gun. We were each given a target. More and more people kept trickling in once they saw that we were shooting. In total we managed to shoot exactly 5 pellets each (not kidding) over a 45 minute period of time, and eventually just left out of sheer boredom. The guy would allow you to shoot once, then once the other 20 or so people had shot their one pellet, you'd get to shoot again. As for safety...well...the guy didn't really have any experience with safe handling of a firearm, and while I get that it's just a pellet gun, you should still treat it with some respect and set a good example for the guests who are there to shoot. We only went the one time, and wouldn't bother doing it again.
There really isn't any. There is no night-club here, and it is geared to a more relaxed crowd. If you're looking for more of a party resort, I'd suggest the Riu Jalisco or Vallarta. This was not a party resort at all.
AREA AROUND THE RESORT
We jogged on the roads outside the resort and always felt very safe and secure. Lot's of people were out jogging and riding bikes in the area. We also walked up the beach to Bucerias twice and found it a wonderful walk. Took us about 45 minutes at a pretty casual pace. The little town has some great shopping areas, and if we go back to this area, we'll likely skip going into PVR for souvenir shopping, and just walk up here.
We had free wifi all over the resort and in our rooms for up to 4 devices per room. Wifi connectivity was never an issue for us.
OTHER RIU RESORTS - Riu Jalisco and Vallarta
We had never been to a Riu property before, and had trouble deciding between which resort to choose for this trip. Reviews for the other properties were varied with some loving them, and others not so much. One of the reason's we chose the Palace Pacifico was that we had the option to visit the other two properties to see if we'd consider staying there for a future visit. We walked down there one day so the kids could play in the water slide pools and to check them out. It takes about 10 minutes to walk down the beach to the Jalisco, and the Vallarta is right beside it. We were down there for about an hour at most. Pools were loud, tons of kids running around, so overall a very different atmosphere than the Palace. We walked past one pool and the guy with the mic was telling a group of people they had 30 seconds to perform their sexiest dance. Later when the kids swam over to the pool bar at the Riu Vallarta they were told they weren't allowed to be in that area and to get out. Upon looking around I guess that made sense given the girl making out with her boyfriend in the pool and seemingly unable to keep her bathing suite on body. Hey...we're all about having a good time, but this is a family resort, not Temptations! We stopped to take a look at their buffet and while they had a lot of food out, none of it looked appealing to us, and certainly nowhere near what we were getting at the Palace. One station had sushi rolls with rice dyed a variety of pastel colours. Instead of the four flavours of scoop ice cream (flavours changed daily) with various toppings they serve at the Palace in your choice of a cone or glass bowl, the other resorts had soft serve chocolate served in a plastic cup. Without any prompting, the kids made some pretty clear distinctions between the resorts. Having said all this, it must be kept in mind that the Vallarta and Jalisco offer a product at a certain price point - I expect to get more at the Palace because I'm paying a lot more to stay there.
NOTE ABOUT THE BUILDING - IT LEAKS...BADLY
It rained fairly heavily one day while we were there and this hotel leaks unlike any property we've ever visited. We've been to a lot of resorts in Mexico and experienced plenty of rainy days, but in this resort every hallway had buckets and carpet mats set out to catch all the drips, as did all the restaurants. We had a leak in one of our rooms that we caught early, so the bed only got a bit wet towards the foot end, and since our daughter isn't that tall, wasn't a huge big deal once we put towels and a bucket to catch drips. Staff were very efficient in dealing with all the leaks, so clearly it's something that happens often enough for them to have such a good plan in place. If I owned this building I'd be getting on top of replacing the roof membrane quickly, otherwise this resort is going to have more serious issues in the future.
Would we stay here again? Yes, we likely would. We really liked the area, the beach, and the overall quality of the food impressed us. The staff all worked very hard to keep the place clean, and the guests happy. Good job Riu Palace Pacifico!
High end, all inclusive!
This is one of the very finest all inclusive resorts I've stayed. It has wonderful Monte Carlo architecture, superb service, incredible food, and a wonderful beach and pool. I enjoyed that this is...
This is one of the very finest all inclusive resorts I've stayed. It has wonderful Monte Carlo architecture, superb service, incredible food, and a wonderful beach and pool. I enjoyed that this is a smaller resort so it is much easier to keep tabs on your group. The food was top notch and they had all of the top shelf liquor brands. The staff is attentive. We were there to enjoy a high school spring break, but also had a younger child. Plenty to do for all age ranges. Love the RIU resorts. Would definitely recommend!!
Once again the all inclusive resort promising top shelf everything didn't deliver. Room was wrong upon check-in. Paid up for full ocen view and got full unstructured view and roof top view. Took them...
Once again the all inclusive resort promising top shelf everything didn't deliver. Room was wrong upon check-in. Paid up for full ocen view and got full unstructured view and roof top view. Took them 24 hours to get us the correct room. Trie to reserve dinner reservations before we left and were told we couldn't. Tried to get them when we arrived and it took 3 days before we could get into one of the "specialty restaurants". We decided to try to get into the Japanese restaurant on night one in case there were cancellations. We were treated very rudely and told to LEAVE! Seriously??? There were many open tables, by the way. Had to eat at the buffet next 2 nights, exactly what we didn't want to do so we had to leave the property and pay for meals after we'd already paid for the all inclusive "top notch 4 star vacation". Food is always cold on the buffet, ALWAYS! Your only chance is to have your eggs made fresh for breakfast. All other food is 100% cold 100% of the time. The wine is UNDRINKABLE. We googled the brand they serve and it is $4.99 a bottle! Really?? I have never gotten a house wine that was $5 a bottle. This is 4 star? Figured out the reason you can't get a reservation in the specialty restaurants- there are only 4, all are not open every night, and each only seats 30-40 people. Ridiculous for a resort of this size. Why do they do this? To force you to eat at the buffet. Food wasn't much better at specialty restaurants anyway. And we were told the wine would be better there but no, they served the exact same swill. Our rooms were not cleaned before 4 pm 2 days in a row which made getting ready for dinner and relaxing after all day at the pool very unpleasant. The pool- edges of the pool were all in very poor condition with tiles missing, and grout and mortar smeared everywhere. A table in the swim up bar had pieces missing and jagged edges. Then to top it off, they started to make all those repairs the last 2 days of our trip, in the HEIGHT OF SPRING BREAK WITH A FULL HOTEL. They closed off sections off the pool and we had a lovely view of caution tape roping off the various areas. This should have been done in their slow season, not high season when we are paying high season prices. The bar tenders and the servers at the pool are very friendly and efficient. The entertainment staff is also very friendly and takes their job seriously. That being said, they would get on the microphone twice a day at the pool for a couple of hours and start loud music and chatter into the microphone destroying any peace and quiet you might have been enjoying. The beach is kept clean however the sand is dark, rough and has a lot of gravel. Not the white sand beaches of other parts of Mexico. Bottom line, was no way worth the money we paid. Our first and last stay at a Riu property.
The pictures don't do this place justice-amazing hotel!
We just returned from a week long vacation to this resort in Nuevo Vallarta. We have been to over 20 all-inclusive hotels and this resort rates at the top. We stayed in the jacuzzi rooms on the 5th...
We just returned from a week long vacation to this resort in Nuevo Vallarta. We have been to over 20 all-inclusive hotels and this resort rates at the top. We stayed in the jacuzzi rooms on the 5th floor. Huge, comfortable rooms with amazing views and sunsets! Well worth the money. The hotel itself is extremely clean and beautiful, with lots of expensive detail. The service all around was exceptional-especially the beach & pool. The food was great. We ate at all specialty restaurants (which they make any time of the day, 4 days in advance & book up quick so make early in the vacation). We especially enjoyed the lobster at the steakhouse-yum! They also do wood-fired grilling at the pool on the weekends which was SO good and convenient.
The beach is soft, no rocks, and is easily walkable for hours in each direction. The water itself is mucky, but lots of water sporting (boggie boards, paddle boards, kayaks, sailing, etc). There are many flea markets, vendors, & bars right on the beach. Bucerias is fun & about a 40 minute walk to the right. There are also many massage huts right on the beach-$20/hr massage. We went 3 times to Lupita Massage.
We spent 1 day on the Malecon/boardwalk in downtown PV which was fun. It's a 20 minute ($23) cab ride or you can take the bus. There are many artists doing caricature, building huge sand castles, etc. & tons of shopping. Have $1 beers/marg's at Cheeky or Sea Monkey and try the homemade tequila at the Circle Bar--made shopping interesting!
There are only 2 things we could recommend to the management: 1) build another bathroom (even single toilet) closer to the beach/pool. Extremely inconvenient the way it is now; 2) have popcorn at lobby or sports bar (only because we love it).
Shout outs to our favorite employees: German & Karlilly (waiters at beach & pool), Gerado, Ulesus, Randy (captain) waiters at breakfast, Victor (bartender at Colibri bar), Juan & Ulesus (captain/mgr)
Best Beach Service, Poor Room Views, Average Food
Overall, I found this resort to be on-par with many other AI resorts I have stayed at in Mexico. Being a "Palace" I was expecting a little more, but it was far from bad. I would put Dreams...
Overall, I found this resort to be on-par with many other AI resorts I have stayed at in Mexico. Being a "Palace" I was expecting a little more, but it was far from bad. I would put Dreams Huatulco, Barcelo Karmina Palace in Manzanillo, and Grand Sunset Princess in Playa del Carmen in about the same category as Riu Palace Pacifico for service but Dreams, Barcelo, and Sunset all have better food than Riu Palace Pacifico, in my opinion. Running the sidewalks in the morning was very safe and pleasant. Mega Store is a casual 20 minute stroll from the front door. Very handy. 24-7 wifi was best I've seen iin Mexico at any resort.
Check in: was the best I have seen so far. Our group (12) and a few others on the bus also at RPP were escorted into the piano bar, given a short introductory speech, given our bracelets, envelopes with keys and towel cards and sent on our way. 5 minute check in. This was terrific.
Special Requests: I requested in advance a room on a high floor and far away from the elevators as I am a very light sleeper and surprisingly, can sleep through music but not people conversing. We were placed on the 3rd floor not far from the elevator. I understand that special requests can't always be granted, but I didn't think I was asking for much. I got neither of my preferences for room location. This was disappointing.
Room: Myself and my 17 year old son were sharing a room and we arrived at our room to see 2 twin beds pushed together. This was not going to work. We pushed the beds apart and tried to arrange the furniture so it would work. The room was NOT designed for the beds to be separated and the room became quite cramped, even for just 2 people. Again, disappointing for a "Palace." This resort should have 3 view categories - Ocean view, Garden view, and NO VIEW (see included picture of our view from our 3rd floor room). It was horrible and noisy from the air conditioners at the resort next door. We could not use our balcony for anything other than drying our bathing suits at night. The patio door could never be open. Again. Disappointing. The room had only one receptacle (a single plug receptacle) near the bed stands to plug in your devices. A 17 year old has many devices requiring overnight charging - I am just as guilty. Thankfully I brought an extension cord so we were able to charge both of our devices (iPhones, iPads). There is no alarm clock in the room either, so if you are curious about the time during the night, you must wake fully, reach for a device, and check the time that way. The bathroom was spacious enough, dryer worked well, no problems with plumbing or hot water. We didn't use the seating area of the room.
Food: The buffets - main and La Toscana for lunch - were average at best. I always found something to eat, no worries about that, but I would not call the food exceptional. It was okay and that's good enough for me. The one food item I would say WAS exceptional were the beef roasts - sometimes they'd call them prime rib, sometimes they were called other cuts but they were the same roasts (rib/prime rib) Absolutely delicious. Nicely done on the prime rib, chefs. We only ate at La Toscana which was frankly terrible. I had a steak. I was not able to cut or chew it. We ate at the buffet after we left La Toscana. My son had salmon which he said was okay but fish in the buffet was better.
Gym: The small gym just off the Spa is for "adults only" - their policy. They stuck to the policy with my 17 year old son. At home in Canada, he has an annual gym membership, and actually student-teaches a fitness course at his high school (conditioning, weight lifting, cardio, etc). He also plays elite level sports, so it was important for him to remain in shape during our stay in Mexico. He went to the gym the first morning we were there, he began his warm up and then was asked to leave because he wasn't 18. This was a HUGE turn off for him and he says he will not return to a Riu. Funny that they stick to THIS policy, but not the lounge-reserving policy (aka the towel game) or the serving minors alcohol policy. Also strange that the safety policy around gym use is more relaxed in Canada than in Mexico... anyway, bad move Riu, you lost a future guest in my athlete son.
Beach: for a Pacific coast resort, the beach was not too bad at Riu Palace. Swimming was okay, although you can't see the bottom. The sand was of good quality and there were no hidden rocks or coral in the water that I came across. Waves were pretty fun on some days. Beach volleyball was loads of fun. As for loungers, there were always PLENTY of chairs. You could move the loungers to the full sun, full shade, or partial shade areas. The amount of palm trees on the beach make it one of the best beach areas for lounging that I have ever seen. Another thing that was also the best I have seen in the 12 All-Inclusive resorts I have stayed at over the last 12 years is the beach drink service. It was AMAZING. Please, please, please tip GERMAN well (the 6 day per week beach drink server - Thursdays are his only day off). He is the absolutely hardest working person at the Riu Palace Pacifico. I hope management recognizes this. He trudges through the deep sand and heat ALL DAY LONG back and forth, back and forth, delivering drinks, water, ice, etc., to the beach guests. For such a large beach area, this was the best drink service I have seen. Very well done, German. You alone made our stay at Riu special. Thank you.
I know I listed a lot of things I didn't really like about Riu Palace Pacifico, but after so many stays at all inclusive resorts, you start to get really picky. Truth be told, I would likely return to this resort. And I don't say that about very many resorts. I hope if I do return, I get a better view and German is still working there.
Also - shout out to Diego on the animation team. He was a really good friend for my son who was the only boy in our group..... even though he couldn't beat him in ping-pong on a rainy day! Haha.
The only thing I would really like to see at this resort - a beach barbecue or somewhere to eat lunch without getting all dressed to go to the buffets. A burger and some guac right on the beach is my dream lunch.
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