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Reviewed 15 December 2006

Me and my Fiance decided to book a once in a lifetime holiday before moving into our new house when we new money would be tight! we shopped around for the best deal and the Riu Cancun stood out a mile. After reading endless reviews of this hotel we decided it was the only one for us. After a tiring flight we eventually got there and to say the least we were both taken a-back. The hotel stood out from any other and is so impressive The hotel staff couldn't do enough for you. The check in was painless, room was spotless and every room had a pool and sea view. We must admit we were very tired for the first 4 days due to the Jet lag and we admire anyone who would go just for a week!! All the restaruants were brilliant. Even if you are a fussy eater there is always something to please everyone. As always when you go all inclusive sometimes you get fed up of the food but we couldnt complain. The bar staff were very polite and waited on us hand and foot. Pools and entertainment staff made our days fun The world cup football tournament was fantastic. All in all the hotel was fabulous, couldnt fault it. There is a fantastic shopping centre opposite the hotel with great shops for souvenirs etc, You must go to COCO BONGO club, It is the most fantastic thing we have ever seen You have to go there to believe it. Also the swim with the dolphins at dolphin decovery was worth every penny. Although the weather was a bit dodgy at times ( only because of the time of year we went) this was still the best holiday we have ever had. We would thouroughly reccommend the Riu Cancun for a fantastic holiday of a lifetime Especially for young couples and also great if you have children as the entertainment staff are great with them. We envy anybody who is going there in the near future and we cant wait to go back soon. Please dont be put off by bad reviews that you read This is a fantastic place. Enjoy every minute

  • Stayed: November 2006, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank kezhayley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2006

Had an amazing travel experience --- this resort was a complete 5 star

5 star service
5 star rooms
5 star location
5 star food / drinks
The Brazillian restaurant was very good

I would go back in a minute, if you want a great hotel in a perfect central location, stay at the Riu Cancun and you will have an amazing vacation!

I'm a travel agent for over 17 years, trust me you will love it here.

  • Stayed: November 2006, travelled on business
    • Value
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9  Thank travelguys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 December 2006

In a few brief words:

A few friends and I stayed at this resort December 3-10/06. I have stayed at the RIU Cancun before, and as usual this resort did not disappoint. The food and service is excellent, the hotel and facilities are clean, and the location is perfect. In addition this is a very social resort. It’s very easy to meet people here because the grounds are huge, yet centralized.

I would highly recommend the RIU Cancun to anyone who enjoys combining a tropical destination with a friendly social environment. If you’re looking for privacy, peace and quiet and seclusion, this is not the place for you. Here, you’re in the middle of all the fun and action!

Below I have a VERY long review and hotel description for those interested in reading it. I also have attached some pictures which compliment my review. I hope you enjoy them. If you check my history you will see that I have been an active TA contributor for the last 2 years. Thus I write this review without bias in hopes that it will help you as much as previous TA reviews have helped me. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at crd_025@yahoo.com.

Best regards.
Chris from Toronto Ontario Canada
_______________________________________________

MY EXTENDED REVIEW:

(1) FACILITIES & LOCATION
(2) CLIENTELLE
(3) ROOMS
(4) BEACH
(5) POOLS
(6) SERVICE
(7) FOOD & RESTAURANTS
(8) BARS
(9) ENTERTAINMENT
(10) EXCURSIONS

1. FACILITIES & LOCATION

The RIU CANCUN is one of the bigger resorts in the area, having about 650 rooms. There is the main 15 storey "V" shaped building. And in addition a smaller 6 story Annex building which contains most of the Junior suites. All rooms at the RIU are ocean view. The elevators that take you up the main building are all glass elevators. You get a nice view of the lagoon and Cancun entertainment district when using these elevators. The elevator service isn’t very fast, but it also isn’t as slow as some previous reviews made it out to be.

The beachside of the resort faces north. Thus the sun drops behind the buildings in the afternoon. The beach loses sunlight at 3 pm. So for further afternoon sun tanning you can go to the top of the Annex building. There are some beach chairs there, as well as a small Jacuzzi.

The resort is very big, however it is also very centralized. This makes it a very social place to be, as its very easy to mingle with other guests. There is a gym, a spa facility (costs extra). In addition, there is a general purpose store in the front lobby, for postcards, cigarettes, toiletries etc. The grounds are very well maintained and very beautiful.

For those familiar with the topography of Cancun you know that the hotel strip containing all the resorts is shaped like the number "7". (check it out on GOOGLE Maps). The RIU Cancun is situated near the corner of the "7" (just to the left of it). The beachside of the resort faces the north.

This location is ideal for walking to the entertainment district of Cancun (including Coco Bongo's, City, Bulldog etc), as well as a number of malls, bars, restaurants and flee markets. I went out to a different bar every night and never had the need to use a cab or bus. There is a nice shopping mall directly across the street from the RIU Cancun.

2. CLIENTELLE

Canadians, Americans and British were the principle nationalities staying at this resort. There was no concentration of one particular age group. There were families with kids, groups of friends, couples, singles, seniors. It was a very good mix, and I doubt anyone really felt out of place here. This resort is very popular with the 25-35 age demographic.

3. ROOMS

Please see my pictures for some shots of the RC room given to us. The rooms were very clean. I did not experience any of the musty smells that other reviewers have posted. We were given room 932 in the main building. There was plenty of drawer, shelf and closet space. Each room has a mini fridge, wall mounted liquor dispenser, TV, phone, alarm clock, hair dryer, in-room safe, iron and ironing board. The AC worked great. The beds were slightly hard, but otherwise OK.

The rooms were cleaned daily, and the maids did a great job. The view from the 9th floor is awesome. Definitely nice to stand on your balcony and view the ground and ocean below (see pic). We were in the west wing of the RIU building. I didn’t check the view from the east wing. However I suspect that if you're on the east wing, your view may be partially blocked by some new condo's built beside the RIU.

One of my only complaints about the rooms is that there is a WIERD smell from the water coming out of the taps and shower. Its not potent enough to disgust anyone. But it smells bad enough to suggest that you shouldn’t drink it. There is a warning posted in the bathroom saying that the water isn’t drinkable. I just used it for shaving. I used bottled water from the minifridge to brush my teeth with.

Other than that the bathroom was clean. Two sinks, a shower. Shampoo, soaps towels tissues etc. Pretty much anything you’d find in any hotel room. The water pressure in the toilet and shower were excellent.

The rooms at the RC are not controlled by key cards. You get two standard keys that unlock standard door locks. The problem with this is that the room numbers are written on the keys. If you were to lose your key, and someone else finds it, nothing stops them from entering your room. Keep this in mind if you intend to bring valuables with you. Make sure to lock everything up cause noone knows how many copies of room keys are floating around.

4. BEACH

Honestly the beach didn’t look too much different post-Wilma, than it did Pre-Wilma. Its a nice beach. It is narrow in width but very long so there is a lot of space to park yourself near the water. The sand is nice, and the water is a beautiful turquoise blue. The only problem with the beach is the above-average amount of rocks in the water.

I'm not referring to pebbles, but to boulder sized rocks scattered in the water. So a little caution is warranted when swimming. Last time I stayed there I broke a toe swimming. This year I was prepared though, so I managed without a problem.

The northern face of Cancun also has a seaweed problem, so there's a lot of it in the RC ocean, especially on windy days. If there is any wind, goggles and masks are useless as the water loses its clarity.

There are a lot of beach chairs by the ocean, however if its sunny, the entire resort tries to make it to the beach so it can get pretty busy at times.

5. POOLS

I’m not a pool person, however I did get a chance to play some water polo on 2 separate occasions. The pools are very clean. The chlorine isn’t very overpowering and yet the water doesn’t feel dirty. There are a lot of beach chairs around the pool area. On the east side of the resort there is also a pool that’s slightly more private, for those who don’t like being around crowds. I didn’t use the swim-up bar pool cause it seemed like the people it in never got out of it.

6. SERVICE

The service at the RIU Cancun is excellent in my opinion, and is among the best aspects of this resort. There is always someone watching over your table when you eat. As soon as you finish your drink of food, they rush over to fill up your glass and remove your plates.

Look for "EL CAPITAN", a senior server in the La mission restaurant...they guy is quite fun to talk to, and he takes care of you very well. I have no complaints about the service. Not once did they disappoint. I tipped accordingly.

Surprisingly I didn’t notice too many people tipping. Cheap people, it wont kill you to drop a buck or two on your table after you pig out!

In the public areas, there is ALWAYS someone cleaning. People bring so much sand in from the beach, yet you never see it cause by the time it drops on the floor, there is someone there cleaning it up.

Some friends were staying in the room next door. Their shower tap broke. They called down and within 20 minutes, someone was there to fix it. Overall this resort has excellent service.

7. FOOD & RESTAURANTS

DON JUAN (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
LA MISSION (lunch, dinner)
BRAZILIAN ALA CARTE (dinner, reserve between 7-8 AM)
JAPANESE ALA CARTE (dinner, reserve between 7-8 AM)
Sportsbar (24 hour snacks)

There are two main buffet restaurants at the RIU CANCUN. The first is the indoor DON JUAN restaurant. The second is the LA MISSION restaurant which is located towards the west end of the property.

LA MISSION was definitely a more casual environment. It has an outdoor feel to it because the building isn’t enclosed. Plus it is closest to the beach. People would go eat lunch in swimwear. The restaurant has a salad bar, dessert bar, two main buffet sections, each containing different foods.

The first section is the casual food section, hotdogs, burgers, fries, pasta, pizza etc. The second section contains a more selective and less Americanized selection. Various chicken, fish, pork vegetable dishes were all in this section. Fish lovers, the grilled salmon was AWESOME!

In the evening, LA MISSION converts to a steak house.... same setup as lunch, but slightly more formal dining plates and glasses, plus a large open grill for made-to-order steaks and chicken breasts.

DON JUAN is the indoor buffet. It is the only buffet that serves breakfast. It is bigger and thus has more selection than LA MISSION. The dinners there are quite good. Every night there would be a special dish selection in the buffet area.

They make these 5 breakfast Smoothies which are absolutely amazing. Banana, watermelon, pineapple, cinnamon, and the "green one". I don’t know what was in the "green one" but it tasted green, and was by far the best one. Be sure to try them when you go down.

The Japanese restaurant was just OK. I’m a Sushi addict so maybe my opinion is too cruel. But if you’re a true Sushi lover, you will not like the Sushi at this Ala Carte. It tasted like store-bought maki rolls that have been in the fridge for 2 weeks. The Tempura appetizers did not use true Japanese Tempura batter. Just shrimp and vegetables fried in greasy batter more typical of the kind used in fish-n-chips and onion rings. The main Teriyaki dish was the best part of the dining experience.

Although we had reservations for the Brazilian ala carte, we never made it due to a scheduling conflict. So my review does not include any info on this particular restaurant.

The sportsbar has 24 hour snacks. Pre-made hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, nachos, fruit etc. Plus a microwave to warm it all up as most snacks were refrigerated. I suspect that the leftovers from the buffets made their way into the sportsbar refrigerator every night. Still, if you’re hungry at 4 am...this is the place to come for food.

8. BARS

Bars EVERYWHERE!
a) Lobby bar.
b) Bar beside the quiet pool.
c) Swim up bar.
d) Bar next to the activity pool.
e) Bar in the Disco.
f) 2 Bars in the main hall where the shows are held.
g) One outdoor bar in the LA MISSION restaurant.
h) Sportsbar on second floor of Annex building.

Everywhere you looked it seemed that drinks were making their way into the hands of guests from all over the place. Quite a bit of free flowing alcohol. There were of course loud obnoxious drunks as well, but you get that everywhere!

The drinks weren’t too strong, but with a simple request you can make them as strong as you like. I don't drink much (1-2 drinks per day max.) so I didn’t observe the brand names of alcohol they served. Although from what I heard the beer was draft Corona.

9. ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT.

I really admire the animation staff at this resort. it seems like they are always present, from 8 am to midnight, 7 days a week. That would tire me out over time, so thumbs up to them for consistently maintaining a great energy level.

There is always something going on during the day. The Animacion team tries to get a lot of people involved in activities. They'll come by and ask people at random if they'd like to participate in various activities.

The most popular activity is beach-side volleyball, there would always be at least 8 people playing at any given time. A few times there would be enough people to form 3 teams of 6.

There are allot of poolside activities as well. Water polo, water volleyball. One day they had a surfboard balancing competition in the main pool. Another day the animacion team came out onto the beach with a microphone and speaker for some music / movie trivia. For a fee, there was also scuba diving, para-sailing, jet ski's and other water sport activities.

The nights started with nightly shows, hosted and/or performed by the Animacion team. Some nights there was resort guest karaoke, Competitions involving guests etc. One night they had a Michael Jackson impersonator. One of the Animacion girls told me that its the same guy performing at different resorts each night. It was quite good, but if you've seen it before its probably the same routine over and over again.

The best show was the Animacion's presentation of GREASE, THE MOVIE. It was very well choreographed and it included all the animacion staff. I have a couple pics of this show posted above. It drew a loud round of applause from the guests watching it.

After the nightly shows, the Entertainment staff would ask all interested, to gather in the front lobby at 11 pm. A bus was waiting to transport everyone to a different club every night. You can easily walk to most of them. However its fun taking the bus with all the other guests at the same time (see pics).

You CANNOT go to Cancun without visiting COCO BONGO'S. Its not only a club, it’s a theatrical experience within itself so make sure you see it at least once.

The on-site Disco was open every night, but it wasn’t very busy. I think most people preferred the off-site clubbing experience.

Just a little word of wisdom to the single ladies. From what I’ve observed, the male members of the Animacion staff are very smooth talkers when interacting with the female guests. Most women like this kind of fake-flirting interaction.... but just know you might get hit on. Its their job to do this I guess. :)

10. EXCURSIONS

I did not partake in any excursions on this particular trip. You can book many different trips through the hotel or your tour operator representatives. However I recommend checking out the tour companies located in the shopping mall across the street from the RIU. Their prices for particular tours were better than the prices you get from the hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
33  Thank ccc25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 December 2006

My wife and I spent 6 nights at the Riu Cancun in early December 2006. With a coupon from Expedia, we paid less than $125 per day total. I can't stress how happy we were with the entire facility. Below, I've provided details regarding individual components of our stay:

Location: The Riu Cancun is right in the middle of the Hotel Zone. The ride from the Airport was probably about 20 minutes. The bus stopped directly in front of the resort, and a shopping mall was located across the street.

Beaches: The beaches at Riu Cancun were beautiful. It appeared that the sand was raked dailed, and any seagrass was removed instantly. I believe the Riu was full during our stay, yet we were always able find plenty of beach loungers. You may have to move your chair in the afternoon to stay in the sun as the building will cast a shadow over a large portion of the property.

Food and Drink: We were very pleased with the selection and quality of the food and drinks at each of the restaurants and bars at Riu Cancun. The Riu did a good job of offering new themed meals each night so that the food never seemed repetitive. We enjoyed both the Japanese and Brazilian specialty restaurants.

The Room: We had a regular room at the Riu Cancun. The room, bathroom, and balcony were all clean, comfortable, and spacious. The bed was very firm, but we still slept well.

Service: We have no complaints whatsoever regarding the service that we received at Riu.

Prior to this vacation, my wife and I had started to worry about our ability to enjoy a vacation. In the last two years, we have vacationed on St. Croix and on St. Lucia. On both of those vacations, we felt so disappointed that we asked for a partial refund. However, we had an excellent time in Cancun at this Riu.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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10  Thank BudStar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2006

Where to begin? My husband and I , 28 and 30 stayed here from Dec. 5th-12th and we had the most amazing time. After reading the reviews for months before we left I must say they were pretty accurate. The good ones that is. I just didn't understand the bad reviews. Everything from the front desk to the beach exceeded our expectations. Even the not so perfect weather didn't matter to us, we were in an amazing hotel with wonderful people all around us. We met people from all over the world and have come home with wonderful memories and hilarious stories.

Front Desk - Easy check in/check out. They were always so nice, whether it was asking for something for our room or just walking by, they were so friendly.

Room - 1209 Standard room with a beautiful view of Dreams, Isla Mujeres and the quiet pool. We would have prefered a view of the activity pool but it was great anyways. Yes it did have a musty smell, but we didn't notice it after a few minutes. The water pressure and hot water in bathroom were great. The bed was hard, after 5 days I started to get a little uncomfortable and asked the front desk for some extra blankets, we had them in 20 minutes and they remade the bed for us. No problems after that.

Restaurants - We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants, we just didn't want any time frames on our trip. We ate, drank and slept when we wanted. The buffets were fine, variety was good and everything was always clean.

The Beach - Beautiful. The weather was alittle rough at the end of our week but it was fun to play in the waves.

The Bars throughout the hotel were great. All of the bartenders were amazing and remember you after your first day. They know your name, where your from and what your drinking. They were fun but professional and would make anything you wanted. Try the Rainbow shots, they are the best.

We received alot of info from this site, and it helped us so much in our planning. I just wished that I wouldn't have focused so hard on the bad reviews. They scared me until the day we got there. We went down there expecting to be disappointed and instead it was way better than I could ever have expected. If little things bother you, you should probably spend the money on a higher rated hotel. If you want to have fun and meet great people and are not bothered by trivial things, then stay here. You will have the time of your life.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
20  Thank Scenic802769
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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