Old Reviews – Riu Palace Los Cabos

  Riu Palace Los Cabos   Cindy ~ Ontario

February 2009

Arrival: February 2 – 9
Flew in with Skyservice ahead of schedule. Customs went smoothly, however prepare to be swarmed by time share hounds. Just ignore them and carry on outside to the buses to find your representative.

We had a junior suite #2162. Nice location. Quiet as is at edge of resort. Very nice room and the maid service was great. Assorted towel art all week.

Restaurants and Bars:
Service was great at all of the restaurants and bars. Omar in our section of buffet for breakfast is a great kid and tries very hard to please the patrons. Nancy and Carlito at the bar by the stage were great. Had alot of fun with all of them. Food was good. No one in our group was ill unless it was self imposed! LOL

Pools and grounds are kept impeccable by the grounds staff. Was all very beautiful. Very strong undertow at beach so not great for swimming, but is beautiful. Sand not hot, but course.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did the tour on the glass bottom boat/glass blowing factor and shopping. It was good. We actually got some whales on video on the boat tour. Did the horsebackriding. See Omar at the beach he is very accomodating. Hubby did the parasailing through Omar as well.

Other Comments: I would definitely recommend the Palace to anyone looking for a top of the line resort.

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  Riu Palace Los Cabos   Annick ~ Winnipeg, Manitoba

February 2009

Arrival: January 12 to Jannuary 26
Arrival was easy and straight forward; flying with West Jet is always very pleasant. There was a fair bit of turbulance on the return trip over New Mexico but that can not be helped.

The rooms are lovely, bar always well stocked and maid service excellent with towel ornaments left for our enjoyment. Very good room service.

Restaurants and Bars:
Service at all restaurants and bars were very good the staff there do an excellent job. I do want to acknowledge Dolores who worked the buffet restaurant; she is very professional and efficient and the Manager Roberto who made sure we were well taken care of and was always available to assist us if we needed anything done.

Beach, pools and grounds are lovely and the only complaint my husband had was the extremely loud music at the pools and pool bars. We found we had to leave and hang out at the Fanta Fee often or the beach to avoid the extreme noise. Listening music is always relaxing and pleasant but blaring music takes away from the relaxation. They really should pay attention to this and try to accommodate the tourists. We are there to relax not listen to loud noises. Our first room was facing the pool and we had to change rooms two days later as the noise was unbearable.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went to the town of Los Cabos and visited, shopped using the water taxi, walking and local bus. Took the water taxi to "Lover’s Cove" and spend an afternoon there which I would recommend once. Snorkelling is very good, however you must be very cautious of the boats arriving to the cove. This could potentially be quite dangerous if they are unaware you are busy snorkelling right where they decide to moor their boats.

Other Comments: There is a female stray with 6 pupa in the sand dunes west of the horse stables past the Italian restaurant. If any one could provide leftover food, I am sure the dogs will appreciate. Mother was quite skinny.

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  Riu Palace Los Cabos   James

April 2008

just got back on april 3rd from the palace it was wonderfull how people can complain about it don:t know staff were great the food was good,and they are always cleaning everywhere had a great time and would recommed it very highly

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  Riu Palace Los Cabos    M and D ~ Ontario

March 2008

As there has been only one review of this hotel for 2008 I decided to write to this site. Everyone says don’t pay any attention to reviews, however other sites have multiple reviews and most tell the true story concerning this resort.

To start off, I know various aspects of travel are solely the feelings of each individual, however when my husband and I began talking with other vacationers at this Riu, and at the airport, we all agreed with each other. Figured we couldn’t all be wrong.

For those of you who have never been to an all-inclusive or have never vacationed at any Riu resorts you will no doubt feel things were grand!

Riu resorts have 2 classifications….the hotel complexes and the Palace complexes. The Palaces are upscale, have better food, grander facilities, top notch service, brand name liquors and liquers.

My husband and I departed from Toronto, turning our watches back three hours (daylight savings had begun). At the airport in San Jose Del Cabo, entry was straight forward (no red or green lights to push?) and a sunquest rep was outside the arrival area with a large sign(Sunquest). We boarded a beautiful bus and arrived at the Riu Palace 45 minutes later.

We went to an open bar where we were given a drink, and after presenting our hotel voucher, we had the towel chits, the safe lock and baggage tags in our hands.(Our airport arrival was 9:15 am) At about 2pm we checked with the front desk and found our room was ready (not prior to this time) at which time we received the room keys

If upon arrival in your room, you find no electricity, flip a light switch next to the door and presto all is well. The air conditioner will not work in the "On" position if the patio door is open to any degree.

FOOD: -only mediocre – hot food is only lukewarm – breakfast is the best meal with traditional eggs, bacon sausages, fruit, omellettes, breads, toast, cheeses, cold meats, yogurt, cereals, porridge, hash browns and Mexican cuisine. Oh yes and also Mimosas (champagne and orange juice together) – At the main dining room (sit where ever you wish) they have several theme nights which means the same food every night except for 2 choices of meat, and some vegetable changes. Being in Mexico, you will find the same Mexican choices repetitive each night. Now at the other four Riu Palaces we have been to (Mexican Riviera, and Punta Cana, men must wear collared shirts (polo, not long sleeves) and long pants. Women "dress up" only to the same extent you would at home if going to a steakhouse or fancy restaurant. This type of dress changes the whole atmosphere in the dining room (makes it classier, but not stuffy). Here anything goes…shorts, ballhats, jeans, halter tops, t-shirts, mixed in with the ones having expected the "Riu Palace atmosphere" – Out of the 5 specialty restaurants (where reservations are required), three have closed dining facilities. By this I mean the other 2 are simply a specialty meal served in the same area used during the day for lunches with guests coming from poolside in swimsuits, bare feet, and beach coverups. We made reservations for "Gourmet" dining…ended up in an overhang from the luncheon area above, in an area leading to the beach (during the day). Two wild dogs came up to the dinner area and some people in the restuarant fed them by throwing them food off the table. Although our food was good, others had tough steak. The atmosphere was not GOURMET

We had a wonderful meal at the "Sir Lawrence" room. Everyone seemed to agree theirs was very good. The separate area was all to itself, beautifully decorated and was never used except for upscale dining. The Japanese dining area looked nice as well…good reviews. Mexican evening dining was also in a separate building. Others who made different dining choices found the food either OK or terrible

POOLS – 2 separate swimming areas. One on each side of the main hotel.One pool warm, one cool. Never went to the cool one. The tiles in the warm one became very slimmey in no time and around the swim up bar a thick layer of suntan lotion mixed with discarded straws eventually developed.
In regards to cleanliness, I must say our room was always clean, we had more than enough towels, turn down service was good and our bed sheets were changed every day. (not so for some people however). We tipped the houskeeping staff on the first day. The general cleanliness of the hotel (excluding the lobby and main dining room) fell well below Palace standards. Because there seemed to be more than enough staff, we wondered if the problem was management or lack of communication. Mid week there was a brawl about 3am where glass was broken and someone was cut (a glass showcase containing cigars had been broken into). A trail of blood leading across the general walkway was well evident in the morning and every day thereafter because no on cleaned it up,simply left it to fade from wear and tear. Spilled drinks etc were never washed up. At the other Riu Palaces we have stayed at, staff literally washed the walking areas with a wet mop, pail of water followed by dry mopping every single morning and afternoon

Specialty Restaurant booking: -biggest complaint by EVERYONE. This was the procedure…Booking area is located in a bar off the main lobby (Los Cabos). Opens at 10:00am. Everyone wanting to go to a nice restaurant TONIGHT, runs up there, grabs a chair, sits in a lineup which gets longer and longer….this starting at 9:00am or you won’t get a reservation. At 10:am a man arrives, gives you a number,according to the order you have sat in(up to the number 69). He then opens his big book and each person goes up and tells him what they wish. Keep in mind you can only book for tonight (for any other night you must again get in line each day ) As the numbers are called, each number tag from 1-69 is again repeated. The bottom line is, you may wait forever and then not get what you want but have to take what is left.

One lady was told she could not take her children to dinner (one was 8 other 12) She told the man her children had no problem eating in restaurants anywhere in the world so what was his problem….never got the reservation

Sorry about sounding so harsh, but that is my take on the Los Cabos Riu Palace.Visitors to the Riu Santa Fe (across the street) said service was poor, because it looked like too few staff, and the place was extremely noisey with loud party goers late at night. Took an outside tour and it looked nice but never there in the evening.

Well that is my comment on the Riu Los Cabos. My husband and I had a nice holiday because we met WONDERFUL couples, the weather was nice, we didn’t need to shovel snow, it was relaxing to get away from life’s stress but never because we enjoyed the Palace. We have now decided to forget the Riu chain and move on to nicer places

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  Riu Palace Los Cabos   Rebecca

March 2008

After reading the reviews on this site, I felt it important to share our own experience. This was the 8th all inclusive vacation for us, and we are in a mid-thirties.

Upon arriving at the airport we were bustled out to the bus for the ride to the resort. Important not to let go of your bags as the time share guys were plentiful. The bus ride was about a half hour (?) but it passed quickly. Los Cabos is desert like so it was nice to see the large untouched pockets of land with cactus..

Check in at the resort was a breeze. We were traveling on a customer advisory conference and the staff at the resort were extremely organized. It was early (your clocks go back 2 hrs when coming from Toronto) and our room wasn’t ready. No worries – grabbed a drink, took off the shoes and put on my flip flops and sat in the sun and took in the view! After a few drinks we headed down to the main lunch buffet. (no complaints – great salad, plentiful fruit, nice fish, chicken…)and just relaxed. Our room was ready by 3 pm. They have elevators but we mostly took the stairs. We had a nice balcony on the top floor. Room came with the standard mini fridge (loaded with pop, water and coronas) There was also the liquor dispenser mounted on the wall above) Bathroom was bright and clean (make up mirror included – although it was mounted a bit high). Shower and bath were great (and not too small as someone had noted). My husband is 6’4” and he managed with no complaints). King size bed and a small sitting room off to the side. Not too fancy but it was nice. To be honest we didn’t spend too much time in the room.. It was just too great outside to spend time indoors. They also had a room service which was appreciated to order coffee and fruit to enjoy early in the morning while getting ready. (Note to tea drinkers.. black tea/Tetley does not exist!)

We took 2 tours (I am not a big tour person.. as we have been there/did that). The bus tour of the city included lunch and some shopping – a visit to a glass factory where you can buy hand blown glass). We also went out in glass bottom boats to see the sea lions which was fun but too much time was spent on the bus.. not enough time to shop, and to be honest.. We could have skipped that one. The other tour was a sunset boat cruise which was great. During Jan-March whales migrate there so we were able to come really close to them and got some great video footage to bring back. The sunsets on the water is one of the reasons I love getting away. After the boat cruise we prowled around the town – did some shopping (my husband bought a genuine fake Rolex – and I bought some great silver bracelets. A group of us ended up in Cabo Wabo which was a lot fun. Great music.. Good food.. A real mix of all ages just there to enjoy themselves. We bought a bottle of tequila from there (you can’t buy it back at home) It’s more of a “sipping” tequila – no lime or salt required or recommended. We also snagged a few t-shirts.

We found the pools to be great.. Pool side service for drinks was appreciated. A small tip went a long way in ensuring that you were looked after. The ocean was not swimmable due to the undertow …but a short walk on the beach and it was fine (not for kids though). Sand was not powdery – and deep to walk in.. There are vendors on the beach but I didn’t find them too pushy and was able find some great earrings for my daughter for $5.00. You can buy bathing suit wraps by the pool but the vendors on the beach are much cheaper (almost half price). As far as other shopping we went to Costco (had too see ..) and Costco had an amazing wine selection and we picked up a large bottle of Kahlua for $10.00. We also bought t-shirts/tank tops and vanilla at Wal-mart – as I was too cheap to pay the high prices at the hotel. The hotel brings in vendors in the evening a few nights a week. Remember to barter – but not be rude – patience is the key if you really want something. A silver bracelet I liked was priced at $25.00 but in the end I got it for $15.00,

Food at the hotel was overall really good. The buffet for breakfast was very large – no complaints at all from anyone. I like my coffee strong and the staff was more than willing to brew me my own pot each morning. Lunches were usually a grab and go from the main buffet but we did have a few nice lunches in the Mexican restaurant (it was nice to get out of the sun for a bit). Dinners were varied. We tried the steak house and the Japanese..and both were good. What I didn’t like was that there 2 times you could book reservations for dinner – 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm and I always felt that the restaurant staff were pushing us to “hurry up” either to get ready for the next crowd or to close up for the night. When on holiday..we like to take our time. Oh well.. we always found a spot to curl up and enjoy the drinks or an espresso after dinner. We watched one show… their version of Grease and it was really good. I didn’t see anyone going crazy or getting too loud. No wild teenagers here at all.

The weather was great. Sunny and hot during the day and the nights cooled down. I wore a wrap/shawl every night. I also took a warm sweater for the boat cruise. The good thing was we never needed the air conditioner on at night. I was really worried that it was going to be too cool but I found it refreshing after the sun all day.

Returning home – the security was tight. Not much at the Los Cabos airport. We found another high end bottle of tequila and grabbed some perfume from the duty free.

I think this resort was great.. Another side of Mexico we hadn’t seen before. We would definitely go back and recommend it to our friends.. but there are just too many other places to see!

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Brian

August 2007

We took a last minute gamble and went to the Riu Palace Los Cabos in mid July. We flew with Sunquest Tours out of Toronto on WestJet. Well, did we get our money’s worth. From the quick check in (there were two bus loads arriving at the same time). They had everything set to go from safe keys to towel cards. We went back to the lobby where we were immediately shown to our room. It had an amazing view of both the Ocean and the pool. The bar was stocked with cold Corona and soft drinks. We sat out on the balcony, with a refreshment and had a good look around before we ventured out. The place was amazing. The staff could not have been more accommodating or pleasant. Many of the reviews stated that the food got boring after a while, really? The buffet was outstanding with a wide variety of fruit, salads, cold meats, made to order entree’s, breads, pastas, etc. I would love to know what these complainers eat on a regular basis at home. I don’t often have a Mimosa for breakfast, but I did every morning.

Our rooms were kept very clean, and were very adequate for the amount of time we spent there.

All in all, I would recommend this resort to anyone. It is relaxing, friendly and well worth the money we spent.

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Morgan

July 2007

I just returned last night (July 31st) from the Riu Palace. Upon arriving I thought, WOW this is amazing. It is a very beautiful resort, however like many cars out there it was all show, with little go. The check in process took quite some time as the workers would jump from one task to another and would help those who would just walk up and demand over those who had waited in line. We got to our room and it looked really nice. I was primed to jump on this 4+ start resorts bed and hit with a smack of the bones. Not the softest beds.

The AC was great keeping the room much more tolerable then the outside temp. One thing I did not like however was room service never cleaned our floors. They are tile in the rooms and if you have any sand on your shoes or feet, which is always, it gets on the floor and makes for a mess in the bed and constantly dirty feet. The bath tubs were very narrow, you could not stand in them without your feet riding up each side as they were also very shallow much like the letter U. Most tubs we are use to are shaped like a U but the bottom is more flat. Not here.

The beach was nice and the moon light off the eater was amazing. The sand is quite rough though. Nothing like the sands off CA or other places with soft fine sand. The warning flags were up each day (all 5 days) as there is extreme rip currents along the beach and with the waves crashing in right at the beach it made it hard to swim. Not the resorts fault, however just know it is difficult to swim and impossible to surf.

The restaurants were nice but the food got old after some time. It was the same thing day after day and I found it odd that being in Mexico, they didn’t serve much Mexican food. I went to town for that and it was great. The gift shop like all gift shops was way over priced, but I found it extremely insane that a candy bar cost over $3 US!!! The lobby was nice with large fans circulating the air. The Main bar on the same level of the lobby has great views too.

All in all it was ok. It was nice and the workers were kind, but It was nothing to write home about. It was a get away and that was it. If I ha the choice to do it again, I would have had more fun spending my money at Disneyland, or going to British Columbia. I feel Mexico vacations are just too over rated. If all you are looking for is to get drunk, drink in excess, and binge to your hearts content, then the Riu Palace, like all other places in Mexico are for you. If not, and you don’t care for the naked man on the balcony yelling and spraying stuff at people, nor do you wish to be around non stop boozers, then I’d recommend other destinations.

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Michael & Stephania

February 2007

We just returned with another couple from a 7 night stay at the RIU PALACE in Los Cabos where we were married on Pedregal Beach.

Arrival in Cabo
The flight to Cabo took 4.5hrs direct from Toronto.

The Hotel
Upon check-in we were given a room facing the construction of the new RIU Santa Fe (which is being built next door to the RIU Palace). We kindly asked the front desk for the ocean view room. As expected, the ocean view room was clean with no strange smells in the room. The bed was huge and very firm. The bar fridge was always stocked w/lots of water, soda and corona. Also, there was a liquor dispenser with tequila, rum, vodka, and whiskey (all brand names!). The hotel is huge! We knew where everything was within a day, and the staff is very courteous.

The food and drinks
The food was excellent. We had no problem getting reservations at the A LA CARTE restaurants. We enjoyed the steak at the steakhouse, and the Japanese restaurant has great ambiance and food. The San Jose restaurant had Mexican at night, and Italian food during the day. We enjoyed both selections there. We never got bored with the selections of the buffet for breakfast and for lunch, especially the fresh salsa, guacamole and chips.

The drinks were great. We asked for Miami Vice’s, Waboritta’s, and more – they were all great! The bar inside the hotel reception area has aged alcohol (scotch, rum, tequila), where the pool bars does not.

The water was only rough for 2 days we were there, the other times it was calm. The locals are selling jewelry, tattoos, wraps and other stuff on the beach. They always approached, but a polite “No Thanks You” and they backed off easily. The pools are the best I have seen. They had built in lounge chairs, and the infinity pool allowed us to get great pictures. The lounge chairs, and selections were plentiful. Every day the pools were clean.

Activities / Shows
As stated by previous reviewers, there are the same activities daily … Spanish lessons, ping pong, rifle shooting (pellet gun), water aerobics, and volleyball. The nightly shows were fun to watch. They had grease, a love theme show, and Karaoke. The dancers were excellent and synchronized.

We decided as a group to go into town. The taxi cost us $14 for 4 adults each way. We bought some t-shirts, went to the Hard Rock Café, and to the Cabo Wabo Cantina. The next day we took a water taxi to lover’s beach for photographs. We bartered with the driver – cost four adults $10 each with the return to RIU – included a scenic tour of the sea lions, and the arch way … unforgettable.

Misc. Overall, we would definitely go back, and recommend this location to anyone. It was like paradise.

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Tara

June 2006

We just returned from a 5 night stay at the RIU in Los Cabos. By way of background, this is our 4th all inclusive vacation in the past 4 years. We spent two vacations at Sandals (Bahamas and Dunn’s River Jamaica) and one at Secrets Capri Riviera. While we had a great time at the RIU, we would rate it 4th among all our all inclusive experiences. We are a married couple in our mid 30’s and young at heart!

Arrival in Cabo
The flight from California to Cabo was short and direct (America West). Once we got to the airport in Cabo, we were looking for the Amex people who would be transporting us to the RIU. We were approached by several people (employees) who quickly took our transfers and then proceeded to try to talk us into going to a time share. It was an annoyance as they initially seemed official and said they were the people we were looking for. We finally found our driver and the drive was a quick 25 minutes to the RIU. Once at the RIU, check in was a breeze. No waiting, no champagne either.

The Hotel
Our room was ready and was just as expected. Clean with an ocean view. No weird smells in the room. The bed was huge and very firm. The refrig was always stocked w/lots of water, soda and corona. There was a liquor dispenser as well. We left approx a $2 tip every other day in the room. We never did learn if room service was available. Couldn’t find any info in our room about it but did see a tray in front of the room across from ours.

The hotel is huge and nicely decorated. We noticed a lot of large cracks in the ceiling and along walls which wasn’t too comforting. While the staff always seems to be cleaning or painting, there were times where the buffet areas still seemed dirty and bees were flocking on the desserts and soda dispensers. The elevator and room layout is a bit confusing and there’s a lot of stairs and walking involved to get anywhere. Not really a problem unless you’re exhausted from too much sun and alcohol.

The food and drinks
Overall we found the food adequate, but not great. We had no problem getting reservations at the 4 restaurants and went in the afternoon to book so there was no line. We enjoyed the steak at the steakhouse but the sides weren’t that good. The Japanese restaurant has great ambiance and the food and presentation was good. The San Jose had Mexican night and we really enjoyed that. I had the best tortilla soup ever but the other restaurants didn’t make it as good. The Gourmet restaurant was really nice, great presentation, good food. For breakfast and lunch, only buffets were available. While they have a huge assortment, we still got bored with the selection. Pretty much all day, if you miss lunch, you can still have burgers, pizza and hotdogs. The great thing, there was always plenty of guacamole and chips. We had lunch at the San Jose which has an Italian buffet and neither of us liked it. Maybe b/c I’m Italian, I’m a bit picky.

I couldn’t drink any alcohol but my husband did just fine. He found the frozen drinks by the pool very watered down tasting. Maybe they used too much ice. There’s a very minimal selection of "virgin" drinks to choose from. The bartenders were hit or miss. Some friendly, some not so friendly. They definitely seemed annoyed if you took too long ordering. We loved the bartenders in the evening at the golf themed bar. They were really nice and made great drinks. At dinner and lunch, you can easily get wine, beer or champagne. Not the frozen drinks though. My husband said the mixed drinks were stronger. Overall, we found that there was a lot of "self service" at this place, probably b/c it’s so big. Maybe too big for it’s own good.

The water was really rough for the first 3 days b/c of a storm out in the sea. There was no swimming allowed but the waves were quite a site to see! Maybe b/c of this, there weren’t any lounge chairs, hammocks, or cabanas set out on the beach.There were lots of people selling jewelry, henna tattoos, wraps and other stuff on the beach. They always approached but backed off easily once you indicated you weren’t interested. On our last day, the beach was swimmable and the water not too cold. Lots of fish in the water. We also heard there were jelly fish. Still, no hammocks or cabanas. Some lounge chairs were set out but there was really no shade on the beach. It was so hot, neither of us could imagine playing beach volleyball but some of the kids did and seemed to be having fun.

The pools were really beautiful. We heard the water in the activity pool was cooler in temp than in the other pool. I couldn’t really tell. They had these built in lounge things in the pool but there weren’t any floating rafts to use in the pool. The umbrellas and lounge chairs in the pool area were plentiful. One towel per person is the limit. Some days, the pools were clean, other days, we saw lots of debris floating in the pool.

There are pretty much the same activities daily…Spanish lessons, ping pong, water aerobics, dance lessons, volleyball. We didn’t find them terribly exciting and usually enjoy such things. There were kayaks available but due to the ocean conditions, we weren’t allowed to use them. The hobie cats were extra. The nightly shows were fair. We played bingo one night and I won a bottle of champagne and a free parasailing ride. The dancers were good but the shows were boring and we usually left early.

Since I won the parasailing ride, I did that. It was fun. 10 min. is plenty of time. We also took the Collectivo (only 60 pesos) into the town and walked around. We rented kayaks (the water was less rough there). It cost about $20 for a 2 person kayak for an hour. We kayaked to the arch and saw the sea lions. It was fun and exhausting! We walked back to the RIU from there ( a few miles) and watched some locals fishing using just a beer can and fishing line. We also took a water taxi on our last day from the RIU to the arch. We didn’t book it through the RIU as that required us to walk about 1 mile on the beach. Instead, we were approached by someone on the beach who hooked us up. He was really nice and also rents the waverunners. The taxi cost $10 per person roundtrip and they take you on a brief tour around the arch and take you to lover’s beach and then they will pick you up. We spent about an hour at Lover’s Beach and used our own snorkel gear. We took lots of pics and wished we had arranged to stay there longer. The water was a good temp and a lot of fun. My husband arranged a scuba diving trip through Underwater Excursions in town. He said it was fun but found that the underwater life there wasn’t quite as intriguing as in Jamaica or Bahamas. He didn’t see any sting rays or turtles. He took a taxi into town that day which he shared with some other people. It usually costs approx. $10 each way so it’s best if you can share with others.

Misc. Overall, we definitely had a nice time. If it were the only all inclusive we had ever gone too, I think we would have been more impressed. Without a doubt, we enjoyed Sandals and Secrets much more…in terms of food, entertainment, and activities. The RIU felt more like a hotel than a resort. A lot of self-service required. Also, there were a lot of "kids" in their late teens, early twenties, probably just graduated. They were quite a spectacle to watch. Drinking shot after shot, getting the bartenders annoyed. There weren’t too many little kids around. In conclusion, I don’t think we’d go back to the RIU unless we won a free trip!

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Linda ~ Aurora, On Canada

April 2006

We just returned from the Riu Palace in Los Cabos and I have to say that I am a little disappointed. We were at the Riu Bambu in 2002 & 2003 and the Riu Tequila in 2004 & 2005. This year we went without the kids, who are now 5 & 6 so we decided to upgrade a little and try out one of the Palace Hotels. Our trips to the Bambu and the Tequila were incredible. Not one thing to complain about. I had heard great things about the Palace in the Mayan and the Palace in Punta Cana so my expectations may have been too high.

First let me say the weather was absolutely wonderful. Very hot and dry during the day and very cool and refreshing at night and in the early morning. I highly recommend that you pack a few sweaters and sweatshirts for early mornings and late evenings.

The arrival was pretty seamless. The departure was LONG. They check every bag by hand – no scanning. So we were lined up for several hours. Sunquest seemed to have the smallest area, the least number of people working but the largest number of passengers.

The trip to the hotel is really nice. The area is absolutely beautiful and I would return to Los Cabos for that reason alone. Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived so we sat on the upper balcony, enjoyed a drink, the weather and the scenery.

Our room was very nice. We had upgraded to an ocean view and would also recommend this. Both the Bambu and the Tequila are made up of a number of smaller buildings rather than the one large building at the Palace. I now know that I prefer the set up at the Bambu and the Tequila because the noise carries so much more because of the long hallways. This was not a big deal except at 3:30 am on a nightly basis when the drunk high school kids were running up and down the hallways screaming. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against drunk high school kids but it was totally out of hand. I was made aware that numerous guests made several complaints about the issue and it continued happening.

I was so surprised by the number of high school kids at this resort. It may have just been the week we were there. Some of these kids were really destructive; toppling over the sand in the ashtrays that were beside the elevators, pulling plants out of pots, spilling drinks and smashing glasses in the hallways. This happened on a nightly basis and most of these kids were there with their parents.

The pools were really nice. Large and lots of space. We spent most of our time around one of the two bar pools. The kiddy pool didn’t look that great. There was minimal number of small children at this resort. I would definitely stick to the Club Hotels when we travel with the kids.

The tried the Mexican restaurant, the Japanese restaurant and the Steakhouse. They were all good. The main dining room was also very good for breakfast and dinner. We ate lunch at the outdoor facility located between the two pools. It was also good and had a nice selection. I would rate the food at the Palace equivalent to the food at the Bambu and the Tequila. However, the service in the restaurants was much better at the Tequila and the Bambu. There just didn’t seem to be enough staff. We found ourselves have to get our own coffee at breakfast, removing our own plates when we moved to a second course and getting our own drink from the cooler – wine, beer and pop for dinner. Maybe I was just expecting too much but I found the waiting staff at the Bambu and the Tequila more available.

My husband and my friend’s husband did the ATV Tour and the Snorkeling Tour. Both were really good and worth the money. We also took one of the glass bottom water taxis over to "The Arch/Lover’s Beach. The cost for this was $10 US/person and worth every cent. The taxi driver was a great tour guide. We got up close with the sea lions. Boy do they smell bad! We were taken over to the Pacific side of the Arch and the power of the Pacific takes your breath away. We decided to stay at Lover’s Beach for an hour and the taxi driver came back and picked us up. We should have stayed longer because there were lots of guys boogie boarding and it was really entertaining to watch.

Los Cabos is a beautiful little town with lots of little shops and bars. It is a $10 dollar cab ride from the hotel or a $ .60 bus ride. We visited several bars. I wish I could remember all of their names. We hit the Cabo Wabo twice and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Once in the afternoon for drinks – we left drunk. Once during the evening – we left really drunk!. This is a must do! The house band was incredible. The bar itself is something that must be seen – all sorts of previous intoxicated patrons have left their undergarments on display. The place was packed, lots of "platforms" for dancing! Totally worth the trip. My only regret was that we left our evening visit until the day prior to our last day in the sun. II ended up spending my last day in our room nursing a very bad hangover!

Overall we would probably go back to the Riu because of the area, the bars and the climate. I think the abundance of high school kids was just the week we chose to go. However from everything I have heard about the Palace in Punta Cana and the Palace in the Mayan, the Palace in Los Cabos has some catching up to do on the service side of things!

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Riu Palace Los Cabos A Canadian Couple ~ Ontario

March 2006

This is probably the sixth review of a resort I have written up for Debbie’s. It is a small compensation for the large benefit we have received back from the people who write reviews and those who willingly answer questions on the forums. That being said, we are a couple who is stretching the term “middle age” to include us. lol. This was our tenth visit to the South in four years. We took a chance on this Riu Palace and are glad we did. Normally a resort of 600+ rooms would hardly warrant a passing glance in the tour booklets from us. However, using our Aeroplan miles and Holiday House, we decided to experience what many people prefer. Although we enjoyed our trip, we will definitely be looking for a smaller resort next time!

Arrival in Cabo
We were quite surprised to see many airplanes on the tarmac as we deplaned and headed for the terminal. This airport is a busy place. There were people crossing our path while heading out to their plane as we were arriving. It was a shock compared to the highly regulated (and separated) arrivals and departures (never the twain shall meet!) that we are used to in Cuba. Since we had flown Business Class on Air Canada, my husband and I were among the first off and turned out to be the first ones through the Mexican customs. It was sure a delight to go as a couple to the gentleman on duty and have virtually no time wasted by him scrutinizing our passports and tickets!! We were pleased with how easy it was to enter Mexico. Our baggage came along quickly and we exited into the next room. True enough, it was as crazy as everyone says. However, we kept going and eventually met up with our contact for the transfer to our hotel. If you are not with a particular tour company, I suggest you take a taxi into Cabo. It will cost just a bit more, and we regret not doing this since waiting on others who shared our van was annoying. The drive from the airport to Cabo provides a wonderful glimpse of this unique area with its cacti and dry, barren mountains signaling the change in latitude. The highway is brand new up to the turnoff to San Jose del Cabo or Cabo San Lucas. You will speed past the Sea of Cortez on your left, which only serves to whet your appetite for the holiday to begin! This area is quickly being developed as evidenced by the many golf courses, condos, and resorts being constructed. You will even see MacDonald’s, Costco, and Domino’s Pizza. I am glad that we went when we did before it is hardly recognizable as “Mexican”.

The Hotel
Seeing the Riu Palace from the highway was incredible. It is HUGE. We were driven down its long driveway and up to the impressive entrance. The foyer is immense, airy, and polished. Since this is such a large resort, one must get in lines to approach the reception desk and wait for an available clerk. We were not long in getting the key to our room, however. Before heading to it, we went to have a drink in the main bar. What a view it has overlooking Land’s End, the water, and the resort beneath. It is a breathtaking location for sitting and having a drink. As I have stressed, this is a gigantic resort, which has two sides that are mirror images of each other. There are two infinity pools on either side with the accompanying pool bars. Our room featured a King-size bed (as requested) and a safe, locked with a key. In addition, the mini bar was stocked with pop, bottled water and Corona, and replenished every two days. There were also bottles of rum, scotch, brandy, and vodka with dispensers above the bar. We never touched them, but I am sure others would be thrilled with their presence. The bathroom was lovely: all marble and ceramic tiles! We loved our balcony which gave us a panoramic view of the resort, the sea, and Land’s End. When cruise ships were in the bay, it added to the ambiance! Because of the expansiveness of the resort, it was a long walk from our room to the main lobby. We were up four floors, as well, and opted more to take the stairs to our room from the pool area.

The Food
We loved the restaurants here and were fortunate to eat at three of the ala cartes. We began the day at 7:00 a.m. eating outside at the buffet restaurant. Although initially cool in the morning, when the sun showed itself above the building, it became warm. It was a real treat to have a Mimosa (champagne and o.j.) every morning to reinforce that we were on holidays! The breakfast buffet was to die for. Anything you could’ve imagined was there. The omelettes were excellent, as was the fresh fruit everyday. Our favourite waiter Fernando was constantly attending to us tourists with coffee, clearing plates, etc., and recognizing and greeting us daily. This is what makes or breaks a resort: the employees. At the San Jose Mexican restaurant we ate most of our lunches. It has a veranda which is open to the breezes off the sea and has a fantastic view, so this is where we ate most of the time. This restaurant is also a nice option to the hamburgers (of which we had no complaints) grilled poolside. The menu at this place for lunch was predictable, yet always pleasant. We were stationed poolside next to this restaurant so we found it very convenient, too. The Japanese restaurant was our best dining experience. For two people who have not ventured into eating this fare, we thoroughly appreciated the food and the atmosphere. We even managed to eat with the chopsticks, although we couldn’t tell you what we did eat! J There is a water fountain, plants, and an open ceiling through which we could see stars as the dinner progressed! Our next ala carte was the Gourmet restaurant, reputedly the best on the resort. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and evening there. Although hesitant to try it, we did dine at the Steak Restaurant and were both decidedly delighted with our meal. The bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin, vegetables, and potato were delicious. Were we actually in Mexico? lol. The only thing I didn’t like was that this restaurant was in the lunch buffet and as such, did not have the atmosphere that one would have desired. Oh, I had read how awful the lineup for dinner reservations was at this resort and I saw how frustrating it had to have been for those in line. No problem: I waited until later in the day and got reservations for the restaurants we wanted to visit and only dined late at one.

Beach and Pools
As previously stated, there are two infinity pools at the Riu, which are truly beautiful. The first two days we were there, the pool was on the cool side. Unfortunately, people must have complained because the temperature was turned up to that of a bath, which we found to be unpleasant and not refreshing at all. We could not even turn to the ocean for relief since the drop off and pull of the waves were too dangerous most times. I was able to go in only once, which was terribly disappointing since we are beach people. Because this is a new resort, there are government restrictions on it and hence, no beach umbrellas (palapas) are allowed yet. Sigh. A resort which cannot make use of its waterfront to the fullest extent is certainly at a disadvantage. Beach volleyball games were a hit, however, and vendors were able to set up their wares. But, walking on the beach was difficult due to the slant of it into the water. Loungers at the beach and at the pools are comfortable. There are umbrellas at each pool.

Activities and Entertainment
We were aware of the activities offered daily. However, except for one, we did not participate and were not hassled to do so. There were Spanish lessons, stretching exercises, target “shooting”, ping-pong, volleyball, Texas Hold’em games, etc., for those who would like to join in. A highlight of our evenings was having a pre-dinner drink in the main bar and listening to the man play the grand piano. What a treat! Then, after dinner, we only stayed for the “warm-up” singing groups which were prior to the main entertainment. Therefore, I cannot comment on the shows themselves.

We had heard that seeing “Lover’s Beach” was a ‘must’ and we agree! As such, we took a water taxi right off the beach at the resort over to it at 9 a.m. one morning. We certainly went at the right time because there were hardly any other people there when we arrived. The waves crashed in onto the beach, sometimes quite unexpectedly. My husband had been standing in an area of rock on the right hand side when it was inundated by a series of waves. He lost his glasses and a ball cap, but at least, not his life! One must not underestimate the power of Nature at Lover’s Beach. (We heard stories from others about their scary experiences, as well) Be aware of the waves at all times. Then, when it was time for us to return to the resort at 11 a.m., there were many groups of people at the “pick up” spot. Snorkellers, kayakers, divers, etc. clogged up the small area where the boats come in. The waves were very tricky and it was quite scary trying to get back into the boat. But it was worth it!! Another trip we took was the “Cabo Sunset Jazz and Wine Tour”. We enjoyed this evening with a fun couple from Illinois we had met at the resort. It was such a special evening–sailing and watching the sunset on the Pacific Ocean AND following two whales frolicking together on their way north. We saw them breech and cavort. It was magical! After the cruise, we went with our new friends to a bar next to the marina, listened to a man play the guitar, and then took a taxi back to the resort. We went into Cabo two times to shop and experience the atmosphere. The Paraiso Mall, by the marina, is a safe and decent place to shop. The husbands had a beer at famous Cabo Wabo while we women shopped. Cabo is a great town for “just hanging out.” We had taken only American money and never exchanged any for Mexican pesos. American money is accepted practically everywhere. At the bar after the cruise, we know we were ripped off by an inflated bill, but that’s life.

For the most part, the staff is friendly and helpful. We found our room to be kept clean, but believe the maid stole $40, which my husband is certain he left accidentally on the bed one day. I would suggest you keep jewelry, watches, etc., locked up in your suitcases and USE the room safe for money. That way, you won’t be disappointed. As others have mentioned, there are people who come around seeking suggestions from the guests. However, I wonder if this is just window dressing as our comments did not seem to be acted upon. For instance, the tile poolside where we positioned ourselves everyday looked never to be cleaned—spilled drinks, bits of food were common sights. Yet, even after we pointed this out to a supervisor, no difference was noted.

Did we enjoy this Riu Palace? Without a doubt!

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Jet ~ Canada

January 2006

I just returned yesterday from the Riu Palace in Cabos and I just had to tell everyone how incredibly amazing it was. This place far exceeded our expectations. I have read every review around and took it with a grain of salt. I knew everyones experience is different, but I just can’t imagine anyone not enjoying themselves. This resort is truly a palace. The grounds are gorgeous and the resort is amazing. Yes, the beds are hard as many people have mentioned, but I asked for a foam topper and they brought it to me within five minutes and what a difference it made. Our room and outside we did not notice anything resembling a sewer smell. Our room did have a faint aroma about it- but nothing that was really nasty, just different. I brought two candles and the first two nights we lit them for a ½ hour or so and then that was it – no other smell. The room was beautiful – fridge fully stocked. And after being there a day we had a phone call asking us how everything was – we mentioned we might need some more water soon and Corona – and again, within 5 minutes our fridge was refilled. The first day we were there we were approached by staff asking what they could do better, suggestions etc. They were very attentive – during the trip we had 2 phonecalls as well as being stopped 3 times to ask if everything was fine.

I have read that the drinks are watered down – and I can only suppose they meant the frozen drinks – we had lots of Miami vices ( pina colada and strawberry daiquiris mixed together – yum!) and they weren’t overly strong. However, we had margaritas frozen and they were fine, but we then switched to our regular drink – Canadian club and pepsi, and be careful they free pour ! Easily over 2 ounces in a small glass – we like ours strong, but we actually had to ask for more ice to put in them. The same is true with Margaritas on the rocks – they are sooo strong, but yummy!!

I read that you need to tip to get service – so not true. We did tip quite often – few dollars here and there – but our service did not change. They came up to us in our lounge chairs very regularly asking us for drinks – we couldn’t keep up with them!

The food was great!! Good selection – wait staff were very friendly. The staff were all there to please. The grounds were impeccable. Every morning when we went for breakfast ( around 8 or so ) there were maids washing and scrubbing stairs, floors, tables etc. At least 5 or 6 of them. Polishing the brass on the bars, cleaning the windows etc.

As you can tell, I can not say enough about this place. We would go back in a heartbeat and will gladly recommend this resort.

Went to Cabos one night and had a great time – went to Cabo Wabo and Squid Roe ( yes, very touristy but still fun). Went whale watching through Cabos expedition and we took the first boat out ( 8:00) and were able to see 4 humpback whales – frolicking in the ocean, jumping up – it was incredible. Definitely worth it !! Not the same as marineland,lol! We got some great shots!!

Oh, there were many comments about the timeshare people and we just went out the doors as we read, and went to the right, people were shouting at us, but we kept on going and no hassles. Found our tour company and bus and away we went. Coming home was long however – going into the airport we had to be there over 3 hours early and they handsearched everyones luggage ( but the way in after we got off the plane they used x-rays but getting on the plane was just hand searched?? Found that strange – thought they would do that in reverse) – that took a long time and then our plane was over an hour late arriving ( due to wind conditions from Toronto ) – not their fault, but it was hot in the airport – make sure you bring snacks while you are waiting. We bought two small personal pizzas from Dominos and it was $17 US. I would definitely bring munchies for while I was waiting.

I know this is long, but I just wanted to let everyone know – it is a great place – and I want to go back again!! You will not regret staying there – it’s just hard coming back to reality!!

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Bruce & Margaret ~ Pickering, Ontario, Canada

June 2005

This was to be our fourth trip to Mexico, but the first time to the Baja Peninsula and the Riu Palace. Since this was a new property (December 04), I had read the many mixed reviews on Tripadvisor, but, knowing Riu’s reputation and having stayed at the Riu’s in Cancun, Puerto Vallerta, Negril, Puerta Plata, and Playa de Carmen, I felt confident I had made a good choice.

I was proved right.

Our flight was on a Skyservice 757 out of Toronto, and we left right on time on Monday, June 6th. Flight time was supposed to be 5.5 hours, but, we picked up a strong tail wind and landed nearly 45 minutes early at San Jose de Cabo International Airport. We deplaned right on the tarmac, and headed straight through to immigration and customs. We both got the “green” light and headed for the bus. Timeshare sharks crowded around and tried to convince me that they worked for Sunquest, but, forewarned is forearmed, and I brushed them off with a “no gracias” and boarded one of the three buses. Nearly everyone was headed to the Riu, with some couples headed to Royal Solaris and Presidente Intercontinental.

Leaving the parking lot, we drove past the big billboard advertising “Cabo Wabo” and turned onto the highway. San Jose de Cabo is a mix of new and old, people riding donkeys at the side of the road, and Hummers and ancient Volkswagen Beetles sharing the highway. We left the town behind and cruised down the Baja shoreline, postcard perfect ocean vista scenes to one side, the desert landscape to the other. This piece of highway is what’s known as “the Corridor” which contains most of Cabo’s luxury resorts and golf courses. In short order we spotted the Riu, but had to drive by, and double back at the next intersection to catch the side road where the entrance is located. Up the driveway, past the security booth, and destination reached!!

Check-in was pretty painless. Rather than line up at the front desk, we headed to the lobby bar, where we were greeted with a nice drink(non-alcoholic) and presented with an envelope with our room keys( pass card instead of metallic keys), the safe key and lock, our towel cards and some orientation literature. Our luggage was tagged with our room number to be brought later by the bellmen, and it arrived about 20 minutes after we got to our room.

We had booked a junior suite, and per a previous email request I had sent the hotel, we received a ground floor room, near the elevator and central to everything. Exactly what I had asked for. The room was just fine and very quiet. Our A/C worked great, we had lots of shower pressure with no drain problems, and we never noticed any “sewer” odors the entire time we were there. The mini-bar fridge was full, and cold, and the liquor dispenser full and ready to go. The “king” bed was two doubles pushed together, and seemed somewhat hard, but, I slept great all week with little to none of the back pain I usually wake up with a home. I left the maid $5 the first morning and $2 per day after that, and our room was spotless all week, and the maid always left us with towel animals and flowers. Nothing went missing and she even tidied up our shoes and clothes. $5 in the mini fridge also ensured service every day instead of every other day. The second night there just before we left to go to dinner, the front desk rang the room, wanting to make sure everything was as it should be and we were happy. Nice touch.

The restaurants – I thought the food at the main buffet was good to very good at times. There was even sushi one night, and always a heavy emphasis on seafood. The made-to-order cooking stations featured Mexican cuisine, and the other, pasta. Roast beef, roast pork, ribs, and duck were featured at the carving station, along with some sort of paella each night. Breakfast at the main buffet was also very good. The only small complaint I have is that at the made-to-order omelet bar, the cook never seemed to leave the omelets on the grill long enough to warm through your choice of fillings or melt the cheese. I choose instead to have my usual two eggs over medium each morning and they were terrific with the fresh chopped salsa. I thought the service in the buffet was impeccable , we always found a clean table with no problem, we were always offered coffee or a breakfast beverage (mimosas…yummy) as soon as we sat down, and the waiter/busboy always pulled out my wife’s chair and seated her at dinner and breakfast.

When we were on the property, we always ate at lunch buffet at the pool. It was very good as well, except for the bees, which, drawn by the sugar smell, coated some of the desert offerings. They weren’t aggressive, and I never heard of anyone getting stung, but Riu needs to come up with some way of covering either the dishes or the entire table to keep the bees away. I was told the Italian lunch offered at the San Jose restaurant was very good, but we never seemed to make it over there, as it was on the “activity” side of the resort, and we choose to stay on the “quiet” side so we wouldn’t be asked by the animation staff to join in any silly games. Dress was “beachwear”, but I saw Riu security asking some male guests to put their shirts and shoes on before entering, and to cover up any bathing suits that were wet and dripping with a towel. Female guests were required to wear a cover up below the waist.

We were only able to make reservations at the Mexican and Steakhouse specialty restaurants while there, the Japanese and Gourmet restaurant reservations just went too quickly. Of course, we never stood in line either, I just checked on availability just before we went to supper at the reservation desk by the main buffet, and took what was left. The service, presentation, ambience, and food at both the Mexican and Steakhouse was good to very good. Rather than partake in the house red or white wine for dinner, we stuck with the champagne (actually, just sparkling white wine) as beverage of choice. It was very good; dry enough for my partner, and just sweet enough for me. A small tip before the meal ensured our glasses were never empty.

I have two small, final observations on the food at the Riu Palace. The beef, whether prepared as a roast, a steak, or as an ingredient in another dish, was the best I have ever had in three previous trips to Mexico. Also, Riu seems to have changed their way of preparing dessert items. I had found in the past that, while they looked terrific, baked goods did not taste very sweet or have strong flavor, particularly chocolate based desserts. Perhaps that was the European influence, but this trip, I found the desserts flavorful and sweet, and very tempting to both the eye and palate.

The pools – there are two beautiful infinity pools on each side of the resort, and two separate pool bars,(which I found always to be clean, even late in the day, not dirty like other posters have noted) as well as two small kiddie pools. Even in early June, I found the pools a little cool for my taste in the morning, but they warmed up quickly over the day to a much more comfortable temperature. While there, we were getting temperatures in the 85-95F range during the day and 70-75F at night. During the day, we always got a nice cooling breeze coming inland from over the Pacific, and at night, a warm breeze heading out from over the desert. The last full day there, it was quite breezy, which made getting out of the pool a little uncomfortable, and made some of the ladies reach for a sweater for the evening show at the outdoor theatre. Two locals told me that it had been an exceptionally windy spring. The sky was a bright, beautiful blue every day with never a cloud to be seen. Humidity was very low. The climate was one of the principal reasons I choose Cabo San Lucas. Cabo gets 350 average days of sunshine during the year, and June historical precipitation is less than 0.2” for the month. Compared to the Caribbean `(Jamaica or the Dominican) this time of year with their extreme humidity and rain every day, Cabo seemed like a no-brainer choice for perfect weather. One night the MC from the Animation team announced that it was raining in Cancun…”but it’s not raining heeerrreee!!!!” and everyone cheered!

The bars – As I have noted in my other reviews, Riu “seems” to have a policy of making the drinks somewhat weak at the pool bars and stronger at all the other ones. I think they’re worried about someone getting so drunk they puke in the pool, or fall and hurt themselves. They have bottles of top drawer liquor sitting on their shelves, but, if you watch the bartenders carefully, they make your drink with the contents of another bottle under the shelf. I have no doubt that it’s vodka; it’s just not Smirnoff’s or Finlandia. One liquor that is of very good quality is the tequila (go figure…lol). Do your homework before going and try all the different kinds…but make sure you are drinking only 100% agave tequila…anything else can have up to 49% grain alcohol added to it, which I’m told is really just a nice way of saying “rubbing alcohol”. I have also been told that if you stick to the 100% agave tequila, you won’t get a hangover. I never really tested that theory, because when I drink tequila, it’s with a beer chaser.

The entertainment – Each evening started out with a duo (male and female singer) backed by a three piece combo (keyboards, bass, and drums). It never ceases to amaze me how all the electronic keyboards, pre-recorded tracks and drum machines can make three musicians sound like a ten piece band with horns and strings. I never caught the group’s name, but it should have been “the Human Jukeboxes” as they played selections from a huge variety of musical genres. I don’t think I ever heard them play the same song twice during our 7 night stay. The sound was muddy….for some reason, the singers weren’t allowed use of the speakers hung from the ceiling, their voices only came through from the wash from the two stage monitors(which were pointed at them, not the audience). The difference in sound quality became painfully obvious as soon as the Riu Animation staff came on stage after the bands 90 minute set…all of sudden you were overwhelmed with the volume and clarity of the MC’s voice. Every night the same thing….all the winners of that day’s pool game were invited on stage for their certificate, bottle of tequila, and pictures with the staff (who, for the most part, were young, cute, female, and annoyingly perky). Then, anybody celebrating a birthday, honeymoon, or anniversary was invited on stage. There was one guy, who actually had the nerve to propose to his girlfriend on stage while up there for another reason. It was quite sweet, and kudos to him for making their engagement a memorable moment.

Then….the big show…usually a big disappointment. I far more enjoyed the duo…they played a wide variety of music…very well in fact…and people even got up and danced. Audience participation and lip-synching tributes to “Grease” grow old very quickly. Thank God Riu has done away with the Michael Jackson tribute acts.

Renting a car in Mexico – most of the reviews I had read on Tripadvisor and in the Cabo forum mention that renting a car in Cabo is the only way to go, so I decided to give it a try. The drivers seemed pretty tame compared to other parts of Mexico, and the highway between Cabo and San Jose de Cabo and Todos Santos seemed straightforward. National Car Rental had an office right in the Riu lobby, with pickup and return right on site, and they did not require a credit card number to reserve over the internet. I made my reservation for a Volkswagen Jetta, and received a confirmation via email within minutes, at a rate much more economical than if I had booked in the lobby when I got there. I “thought” I had done my homework and knew what to look out for….for peace of mind and the low cost I decided to take all the insurance I could get, and I made sure the agent and I went over the car with a fine tooth comb in the pre-delivery inspection…even checking the condition of the spare tire and jack components. We noted every little scratch, ding, scrape and windshield chip. Both satisfied, he parked the car back in the lot. I went back to the room to collect my spouse and another couple we had met while there to head into Cabo. As I was driving from the parking lot up to the lobby entrance, I heard a crunch and then a bang….the front bumper had fallen partly off and was dragging between the ground and the wheel well. The bellman got a great kick out of it. What appeared to have happened is that someone had parked too close to a curb (which appear to be much higher in Mexico than in Canada), and when backing out, had caught the undercarriage of the bumper and tore it off. They then shoved it back up in and secured it with duct tape.

By this time I was starting to get a bad feeling about renting a car, so I returned to the desk and got the rental agent to show him the damage. He agreed reluctantly that the damage must have been pre-existing and we had both missed it, but he wanted me to wait while he got a mechanic from his office in Cabo to come and fix it. He offered to move the return time ahead to when we actually got the car, or to take another one, but I declined. He then wanted to charge me for a full day rental, but even he realized he had a pretty weak argument, as he knew I hadn’t done the damage and had witnesses to back me up. In the end, he returned my credit card slip marked void to me, and that ended my car renting experience in Mexico. Take from this tale what you will….

Excursions off the property – As usual, I/we had big plans…we were going to go here, go there, and cram our vacation too full. In the end, we only went into Cabo San Lucas twice for shopping and once for the dinner cruise on the Cabo Rey. We mostly shopped in and around the marina, but we did take one of the glass bottom water taxis out around “the Arch” to see the sea lions close up. I got some beautiful pictures. Word of advice. Try not to go into town when the cruise ships are docked. It is much more crowded then

…And the vendors are much less inclined to haggle over prices. Cabs are plentiful and it’s $10 USD one way into town. Lots of time you can find someone else in the lobby around 10:00am who want to go to town as well and you can share the fare.

Your fellow guests – Since Riu is a Spanish chain of hotels, I expected to see the same mix of guests at Riu Cabo as other Riu’s in the Caribbean….a significant percentage of Europeans, with the rest split 50-50 between Canadian and Americans. This is not the case at the Riu Cabo. The clientele is almost exclusively North American…Canadians on 2 or 1 week summer vacations, and Americans from the Pacific states down for 3-4 days vacations(according to a very informal and probably inclusive poll conducted by your’s truly). This can be good or bad dependent on a number of factors. Since there are no Europeans, there is no toplessness to speak of. Since a very large majority of the American guests are from California, a significant number of the female guests have had cosmetic enhancement of their mammary glands. So it depends on what you think is more dangerous for your child to see, or what offends you more – a bare breast or an assault weapon? It is interesting to hear an actual American citizen’s opinion on George Dubya than what Fox News or CNN wants you to think. Unlike Canadians, they support their members of the military and respect them, but are not too sure about Dubya’s real reason for the war. It was interesting to hear one American citizen of the great state of Texas haggle with one of the beach vendors over the price of a pink cowboy hat for his wife. The vendor wanted $25 and “Tex” wanted to pay $10. Tex wouldn’t budge a bit and the vendor gave up, and Tex sent him on his way with a comment to the effect of “you’ll be back later today when you’ve made no money and there will be no money to feed your kids tonight or buy tequila”. Nice…..and then I heard him complain that “hey…I work for a livin’ too and I’m not made of money” How absurdist coming from a member of a society who probably spends more at Starbucks in a week than the average Mexican makes in month.

In Conclusion – would I return to the Riu Cabo? Absolutely. I think the plan will be Jamaica in Jan or Feb, and the Riu Cabo in late June or July. With Vegas thrown in for a weekender in the fall…..

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Debi & Steve ~ Toronto, Canada

June 2005

The resort town of Cabo San Lucas is located on a slender cape extending eastward from Baja’s southernmost tip. It has gradually developed into a tourist hot spot and vacation area to the stars over the past forty years. Cabo’s main attractions include a full service marina ( hosting many major cruise lines on an almost daily basis), an underwater nature preserve and the magnificent LAND’S END rock formations at one end of the bay. A pristine beach with a violent surf surrounds the coastal area of resorts and condominiums. We chose Cabo this year based on weather rationale only. Our experience of 12 days of rain last year in Punta Cana, D.R. was enough for us to scour the weather network to find the perfect location for a May holiday. We chose the Riu Palace property based on the foundation and reputation of the resort chain and our past experiences in their resorts worldwide. Riu has never disappointed us in our years of travel.

We found that the Palace chain is top notch and caters to every discerning traveler’s whim. Being seasoned travellers our concerns were not without worry that since this property was fairly new there would be a few glitches in the operational management of the resort. We were not unsubstantiated with this notion. After an uneventful but rough landing with Skyservice Airlines we were escorted to the waiting tour buses and driven to the resort. Our tour company representative was most entertaining as he described all the local hot spots during the excursion. We arrived at the hotel and greeted in the lobby with a nice cocktail and our room keys. I recognised a familiar face when we stepped into the lobby and was surprised to see the hotel manager from the Riu Palace Playa Del Carmen standing there. He remembered us from our last trip and quickly ensured that our room was satisfactory. This was much appreciated however we did end up changing rooms a couple of times. We settled on room 3125 overlooking the activity pool with a clear view of Land’s End and the Sea of Cortez. The hotel itself is truly magnificent.

The grounds are immaculate, well manicured and clean. Unfortunately the expanse of the hotel ( over 600 rooms) hosts a multitude of guests from all walks of life. This can make for an interesting concept seeing that an all -inclusive atmosphere can erupt personality changes in the quietest of people. The swim up pool bars were packed with inebriated folks that did not need anything else but themselves for their own entertainment. This can put a damper on the environment if you wish to let it bother you. We chose the quiet side of the resort to spend our days in the sun. There are infinity pools located at either side of the property. One hosts a full range of boisterous activities and the other is for relaxing. The activity pool is kept at a moderate to high temperature while the other pool is frigid but refreshing.

The Sea of Cortez is beautiful to look at but hosts a treacherous undertow. While my husband did try swimming in front the hotel it was only a matter of time before the injuries outweighed the risks and the hotel management placed a red ribbon along the shore to warn people not to swim. They also employed a lifeguard who consistently whistled at the unsuspecting guests to clear away from the edge of the water. We witnessed some classic wipe-outs that sucked a few guests into the ocean.

There is a host of off site activities that are fun to do. We went horseback riding at a cost of $60 U.S.D. per couple. It was beautiful and without incident until my horse decided to take the Kentucky Derby challenge and take off down the beach. I was thrown into the sea and caught twice in an undertow. Despite what could have happened I managed to only sustain a few bumps, bruises and cuts. The horse was fine though ! Needless to say we didn’t take advantage of the ATV excursion as we saw the results of some broken bones of other "casted" guests throughout the weeks. We took a jet ski out to the rock formations and Lover’s Beach. Smelled the Sea Lions who were extremely cute but very stinky. It was truly an experience to get up close to those rocks. Here’s a hint, if you walk towards Cabo you can deal with the Jet Ski guys for a better price. They will also take you out by water taxi to Lover’s Beach which is a must see. Cost of the Jet Ski was $40 for 40 minutes, cost of the water taxi $20 per couple.

Back to the Riu. Since we spent two glorious weeks in Cabo we had the opportunity to relax and not let the small things mar our stay. We found the reservation system to be absolutely ludicrous. People lining up at 4:30 p.m. to make reservations for the next night. The hostess opened her podium at 6 p.m. while hotel guests lay on the ground playing cards, camping out etc. My husband rushed to get in line by 5:30 and on most nights managed to obtain a desired time and restaurant locale for the next evening. It was his opportunity to socialize with guests and have a pre-dinner cocktail. I am fortunate that he didn’t complain about this ritual because I certainly would not have had the patience to tap my foot for an hour in line. We have never experienced anything like this in any other resorts ( including other Riu Properties) around Mexico and the Caribbean. As far as the a la carte restaurants were concerned we had our favorites. Sir Lawrence Gourmet and the Japanese were on top. The Mexican restaurant was also quite good. Order the Mayan Coffee, it is quite a production. The Steak restaurant was the most disappointing. It is located in the same area as the lunch buffet. In the evenings they toss on royal blue tablecloths and voila, you have a steakhouse ! We found our best bets at the nightly buffet. The food was fresh, beautifully prepared and plentiful. Anyone with a bee allergy should take note and bring their EPI PENS with you to every buffet. Most dessert areas were swarmed by this little suckers. They seemed to enjoy planting themselves on each sweet pastry and disguising themselves as nuts. It can be intimidating but we just shooed them off and chalked it up to a FEAR FACTOR ambience. I wish I could compliment the calibre of service in all the restaurants. Regrettably the service was lacklustre at all our meals. The mornings being the most challenging. We didn’t take heed to the fact that the wait staff was non attentive. We simply fended for ourselves…….coffee, cutlery etc. We felt like we were right at home. Only issue is that you are paying for these services and not receiving them. Perhaps with time things will iron themselves out.

There is a high staff changeover at this resort. Make certain that you bring plenty of single U.S.D. for tipping. That would usually work at some of the meals with respect to the competence of service you will receive. We also made sure to leave a tip daily for the housekeeping staff. They were great. The room was always spotless and there were no issues of theft in the room. One of the strangest things we found was lack of bathroom locations throughout the hotel. One of the bathrooms near the pool area was located inside the Mexican Restaurant ( which by the way turns into a fabulous Italian Buffet at lunch). If you wanted to use that facility you needed to march through the restaurant ( covered up of course) and down the stairs. The other bathroom was located in the lunch buffet/Steak house by night restaurant. Not very convenient. The pool bar and poolside service was good not great but nonetheless adequate. Tipping also helps with these guys. The hotel offers amenities such as a gym, disco, internet cafe, pool tables, etc. The gym is not sufficiently equipped to handle the volume of guests at this resort. I woke up early each day only to find one of the three treadmills were already taken by people who lined up before the place opened in the morning. Yet another line to deal with !! The view from the gym is incredible though. It overlooks the sea and you can enjoy watching marine life jump out of the water each morning while you are running.

There is a full service spa located inside the gym and a Jacuzzi/hotub scenario outside of the gym area. Spa services are available at an extra cost. There is a charge to use the internet, $4 per twenty minutes. Half the time the internet connection was so slow it would take 2 minutes to load an email. There is also a charge to use the pool tables. I can’t recall what the price was but my husband would play while I was on the internet. We enjoyed getting out of the hotel and heading to Cabo San Lucas in the evening. There are great restaurants ( which is a nice break from the hotel) and lots of trendy bars and clubs in town. Cabo Wabo, Squid Row and the Marina area are all hot spots. There are many shops in town to pick up some nice souvenirs. It seems that everyone but me went home with an infamous cowboy straw hat ( $25 U.S.) that came in a multitude of colors. I didn’t think the hat would fly here in Toronto so I passed on that investment. From the end of March through to about the end of June the weather in Cabo is picture perfect. We had 14 days of 90 degrees plus, not a cloud in the sky and dry heat. It was absolutely glorious in comparison to last year in the D.R. We came home rejuvenated and happy. The flight back was eventful but once again our pilot ( must have been the same guy who flew us down) landed with a thud on the runway. Are they giving the rookies the Cabo flights ? I wonder ? All in all I would recommend this resort to those who have the patience to endure the small anomalies that go hand in hand with a new property. The Riu will evolve into its 5 Star promise in about a years time. The prices should also reflect the calibre of the hotel. Should they want to keep the quality of guests to a platinum standard the hotel chain needs to cease appealing to the 3 star price point traveler. We will continue to search for a future equivalent to match the eminence of the Riu Chain. Should you wish to email us your questions please do so at travelexpert123@hotmail.com

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Canada

April 2005

Just returned from a 2 week vacation at the RIU PALACE in Los Cabos, Mexico (March 15—29th) with husband and 2 teenagers. Our initial impression was that this appears to be a lovely resort. It is approx. 45 minutes from the San Jose Airport and we were transported in a new coach bus. Very comfortable. It took approx. 20 minutes to check-in (fairly organized chaos). We brought our own luggage (rather than wait for the bellhop) to 2 junior suites and they were ready upon our arrival. These were lovely rooms – very comfortable and spacious and of court clean and in good repair because the hotel is only a few months old. There are 642 rooms in the hotel with 18 junior suites. The rooms had a large kingsize bed with a pull-out sofa bed if needed. The marble bathroom was well-maintained, spacious with double sinks. DO NOT DRINK the water from your room faucet as the water has NOT been purified. We each had a large balcony with 2 comfortable patio chairs overlooking the Sea of Cortez and there was even a small rack for drying clothes outside. Each room has a small bar fridge which was replenished regularly with Pepsi / 7-Up / Corona / bottled water. There are also liquor dispensers in each room dispensing vodka / rum / tequila and brandy. Rooms were cleaned well each day and we were sure to leave a tip for the maid on a daily basis. Overall the rooms were quite nice; roomy, well-decorated with lots of marble / granite counters and dark mahogany.

The resort is nicely laid out. It has a beautiful lobby with a number of chairs / tables and a large lobby bar. There are two large main pools on either side of the resort complete with fountains. They are beautiful pools, reasonably well-maintained (we did find broken plastic cups on the bottom) but they are kept very, very hot. It actually felt like you were swimming in pea-soup. Not soothing if you were looking to cool off from the hot sun as the water was warmer than the air. Great for babies and old people – but we were not comfortable with 95 degree water temperature. In addition there was a safety issue when one of the guests leaned into the pool and was able to completely remove an underwater floodlight – complete with taped extension cords! Knowing the electricity and water don’t mix well – we alerted the staff around the pool area but they did not appear very concerned and took some time to repair it. The resort overlooks the beautiful Sea of Cortez and the ‘arch’ at the Lands End. The granite rock formations are beautiful – very scenic. The beach in front of the resort is beautiful, although very strenuous to walk on as the sand is quite deep. It is a real work-out to walk the beach. The waves often crash against the shore making it very difficult and dangerous to swim in (the undertow is extremely strong). The entire two weeks we were there they had a red flag flying indicating unsafe swimming conditions and of course there are no life-guards on duty. You swim in the water at your own risk.

Almost on a daily basis huge cruise ships come into the bay and anchor for the day. As a result, when we went into Los Cabos for shopping we were surprised at the high prices for relatively poor quality products. If you venture off the main highway prices are better, as the customers are usually Mexican rather than tourists. We were surprised to find a Costco store approx. 5 minutes (by bus) from the Riu Palace. Bring your Costco membership card and you can shop there in pesos or U.S.D. It is a large store laid out exactly like the Costco on Steeles Avenue in Brampton, Ontario. If you forget your membership card they will check for your membership in their database and provide you with a temporary shopping card. Now the negative: we were extremely disappointed with the food. The quality of the food was less than mediocre. We have visited Mexico on six other occasions – always staying at 5 star resorts – and this was unquestionalbly the least impressive resort in the food and drink department. Food was often cold when it should have been piping hot and drinks that should have been chilled were room temperature (especially in the San Jose / Italian restaurant open for lunch). We found glasses and cutlery dirty not just with water spots but also with food depris and lipstick marks! The staff try hard to accommodate guests but I suspect there is a problem with management and under-staffing. Waiters were often wearing soiled dinner jackets and aprons and we saw many waiters from breakfast until well past the dinner hour, obviously working long shifts. My husband actually confronted management with a complaint about the food temperature and he was treated rudely and ignored. Booze at the resort was low-grade. Cocktails are so watered down that they are more like slushies than mixed drinks. The beer is always good – very refreshing – but you can’t go wrong with bottled beer. You have a choice of buffet or specialty restaurants, however you must wait approx. 2 hours for the reservations desk to open at 6:00 p.m. to make reservations to any of the specialty restaurants. I don’t know about you but I don’t wish to spend 2 hours a day during my vacation waiting to make dinner arrangements. The reason for this is because they have made the specialty reastaurants (Japanese / Mexican / Steakhouse and St. Lawrence a la carte) way too small: they only hold 36 people at each seating with only 2 seatings (early and late). We did manage to get into the Steakhouse and Japanese restaurants and were disappointed with both. Don’t bother. Knowing that other guests have complained about becoming ill due to the food preparation at this resort, we were careful to scrutinize the food and ensure it was cooked through. The buffet restaurant is very attractively laid out and the staff are very friendly and courteous (but they are really worked off their feet and slow to respond to requests like ‘ketchup’) and I was not overly impressed by preparation (food was often dangerously undercooked or soggy and overcooked). We did not get sick during our stay however there were incidents of guests becoming ill that we were told about. I’m sure anyone could find something to eat in the buffet restaurant however most evenings we were really disappointed with the food in general. Our best meal and drinks were found at the Hard Rock Café in Los Cabos. Great ambience, super-friendly staff and tasty food (with a free Hard Rock Guitar glass as a souvenir!). Problem is you resent paying extra for food and drinks after spending an exhorberant amount on an all-inclusive vacation.

We always find Mexican people to be very friendly, courteous and warm-hearted and the people of Los Cabos were no different. We were sure to leave a tip after lunch and dinner each day and were disappointed to note that many guests do not. According to the Fodor’s pocket guide on Los Cabos (printed in 2002) the average employee in the tourist industry of Los Cabos only makes the equivalent of 3 US$ a day – so be sure to tip these hard-working people who are trying hard to please guests. The problems with the resort exist at a managerial level – not with the hard-working stiff.

From December to March Gray whales and humpback whales migrate to this area to give birth and one couple we met were fortunate enough to spot a male and female gray whale with a baby. They following them in their rented Zodiac for about an hour and a half. Weather was spectacular; 90 degrees most days with clear blue skies and a comfortable ocean breeze. It cools off dramatically at night so be sure to bring a light jacket / sweater.

We didn’t check out the all inclusive “shows” during the evenings. It has been our experience that these shows are usually amateurish, put together by the pool and activities personnel.

Satellite T.V. is limited. True – we didn’t come to Mexico to watch T.V. – however my teens did not want to miss certain shows (they are die-hard O.C. fans) but most American networks were unavailable and of course there were no Canadian networks. In fact there were very few English-speaking channels. Internet service is available at the resort for $4 USD for 20 minutes. The resort has laptops and desktops available. Great way to keep in touch with family (or business) since phone calls are pricey in Mexico. Arrange for a phone card prior to leaving for the most economic route, if you simply must use the telephone.

One additional thing I must note is the intense smell of septic waste prevalent throughout the resort. Most evenings there was a strong odour noticeable from our hotel rooms (on the 3rd level) and one evening we even noticed it while we were eating in the buffet restaurant. Makes for some hilarious jokes – but not a pleasant dining experience. Originally we thought there was a problem with the resort’s septic tank system, however we later discovered it was in their watering system. They water the grass and plants with waste diluted in the water. Very organic but not something you want to experience as a guest at a supposed 5 star resort. Needless to say the landscaping around the resort is lovely.

Overall I would rate this resort a 4 star property – definitely not a 5 star plus (as stipulated in the Sunquest book). The food is no better than a 3 star. If you have never been to other 5 star resorts in Mexico you may not notice or care about the negative details I have mentioned, but if you have been to reputable bona fide 5 star properties this resort will not meet those standards. I will not return to a Riu property again based on this experience and discourage others from booking here.

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Riu Palace Los Cabos Jeanette ~ Alberta

March 2005

Absolutely wonderful. Definitely rates 5 stars.

Our holiday to Riu Palace Hotel Las Cabos was brilliant from start to finish. We returned last night and I am basking in the afterglow of one of the most relaxing holidays we have had. The four of us (2 couples aged 49 to 55) will return and would highly recommend it to all ages. We have stayed at many all inclusives and feel qualified to comment.

Los Cabos, so we were told; is where you go if you want guaranteed weather.

The Riu Resorts are where you go if you want guaranteed satisfaction in a resort.

This may sound as though I am an employee of the company, but I am not. I am a Canadian (Albertan) visitor that just wants to share my views and opinions. I use Debbie’s Resort Review before we travel all the time and find her site to be very helpful and informative. For the most part, the reviews we have used in the past have been accurate with a little tempering either way. I may tend to be too appreciative, while I think some writers may criticize too much. Having said that, the following is my review for Jan. 2005 of the Riu Palace Resort.

Our stay at the Riu was exactly what we had hoped for; and better than we had expected. With this Riu opening just one month ago … we expected there to be a glitch somewhere, with some things not yet perfected … but it actually feels as though it has been in operation for years. Everything including the room service, the meals, the grounds and the staff couldn’t have been any better. You feel like you have stepped into a grand plantation style setting; elegant in every way … and you are made to feel comfortable whether you are wearing evening attire, a bathing suit, or shorts. The resort itself is picture perfect and very luxurious.

Rooms The Jr. Suite was very comfortable with lots of room, comfortable king sized bed (we requested instead of 2 doubles) and lots of storage for clothes. All rooms have a full or a partial view of the ocean. Everything was new and crisp and clean. The floors were beautifully tiled, but had small carpets around for comfort. There is a mini bar complete with counter top liquor dispenser. They replenish your mini bar whenever you call them, or they check routinely every other day. There is an iron and ironing board, and a hair dryer is provided; but I suggest you take your own shampoo and crème rinse as what is there isn’t really all that good. We had air conditioning as well as a fan over our bed, but we just left the patio doors open at night. It cooled off in the evenings so this was all we needed. We could smell the night air and listen to the surf.

Early in the morning when the water is calm … you can hear the seals bark and if you watch carefully, you see them playing about near the shore. Some people told us they saw a whale not far out, but I wasn’t so lucky.

Food The food was excellent. You can eat or drink 24 hours a day at this resort. They will deliver coffee and/or breakfast to your room on request. Although it isn’t necessary to tip the waiters … it really lets them know that you appreciate their service. They have so little and we have so much … we tipped everyone who helped us and felt very good about it. We really enjoyed the “all you can eat” buffets and had to cut back after a few days as we were eating way too much. The guacamole and salsa is to die for. There were many stations where they would cook something especially for you (omelets, pancakes, burgers etc) but there was so much to choose from, often times I didn’t even get to the omelet chef. The specialty or themed restaurants, (Japanese, French, Steakhouse, Pizzeria and Grill) were all very good as well. Our favorite may have been the French (very elegant), but the Mexican was also extremely good. The waiters serve up blazing coffees with liqueur and ice cream in it. The flavor is amazing, but just watching them pour the flaming liquid back and forth between the two carafes is entertainment in itself. The steaks in the Steakhouse were not “Alberta Beef” like I am used to, but they were flavorful and tasty all the same. I was amazed to see how well the Sushi and Tempura dishes were done in the Japanese restaurant. If I were to make one negative comment, it would be that I wish they would come up with a way to book these evening meals in the theme rooms without the line up in the mornings. People start to line up at 7:45 am and we heard many complaints about being on holidays, but still needing to get up early so as to get a booking at one of the fancier restaurants. The resort starts taking the reservations at 9:00 am and by 10:30 they are all booked so anyone getting up later or near the back of the line is out of luck.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t get to eat ……there is the buffet which doesn’t require reservations. It is as delightful at dinner as it is at lunch or breakfast. They change the menu regularly, so it is possible to eat there every night and still have an assortment of new and flavorful meals.

I do however enjoy the smaller restaurants because of the ambience. They create a feeling of quiet intimacy within this bustling resort. The wine, the candles, the white table cloth, it all makes you feel as though you have just dropped into the life of luxury.

The Pools
The water in one of the larger pools is heated to about 80 degrees … just slightly below body temp. so you can cool off, but not get cold. Babies love it, as do the elderly and everyone in between. Consequently it is the busiest pool, not overcrowded, just busy. This became our favorite spot during the day. The rest of the pools don’t seem to be kept very warm. There are tiled, built in loungers to lie on in the water. There are two swim up bars … and many Jacuzzis and children’s pools.

The Beach
Very nice beach with white to golden sand, lots of beach chairs, volleyball, and of course the locals selling their wares. They had to keep a distance and weren’t a problem. You couldn’t swim very far out as the undercurrent was too strong and it got too deep close to the shoreline. The water was cold and I preferred the pools.

The Riu is very generous with the drinks and they used name brand liquor and good beer (Corona was their main one) You can order anything … just name it … if they can’t make it, they will ask you how and then do it for you…. and it is all included. We had Mudslides and Chi Chi’s, Caesar’s and Pina Colada’s. We found that although they don’t expect a tip, they were really attentive when you slipped them a dollar (US) or so with each round. Sometimes my husband was more generous … and they rewarded us with magic tricks and friendship.

Evening Show
We always enjoyed the evening show at the end of a long warm day. There is a different one every night and they were all really good. The dancing is excellent, the singers are talented, and the audience participation amusing. Again, if someone from the Riu is reading this site … I have another suggestion …. The M.C. is very personable and good looking and he would be very capable of being the Master of Ceremonies in any Spanish speaking entertainment facility however … 80 percent of the people staying at the Riu spoke English and couldn’t understand him. He did say everything in both languages, but he spoke the English words so quickly and with such an accent that many of the audience couldn’t understand him. Certainly if they knew what he was saying… there would be more connection with the show, more audience participation and more a sense of being a part of the group.

Excursions We took a dinner cruise in hopes of seeing one of the 11,000 whales that are said to migrate through the area at this time of year. Once again, others who were out on different boats saw a whale, but we didn’t. I wouldn’t go for a dinner cruise again. Our meals were better at the resort and just about the time we should have been near to where the whales were … we had to go down to eat. I feel like if you want to eat …stay on land and if you want to watch for whales, take a tour but not a dinner tour. We ate at a restaurant called Brasil’s in Cabos San Lucas. We found it to be entertaining, and very filling. They serve about 12 different kinds of meat on large swords right to your table as well as all the staples. It is all you can eat for 26 $ US. (drinks extra). If you are serenaded, be sure to tip the singers as they are not part of the restaurant and do this as a business. We did a quad ride out of San Jose Del Cabo. If we had taken the guide it might have been more fun … but we didn’t and consequently we didn’t know where we were going and although we found some great sand dunes to play around in … the rest wasn’t too exciting.

I found San Jose to be less expensive for shopping than Cabo and that was likely because the ships were in port at the time. There is a Costco there right across from the Riu so bring your Costco card if you want to have a look.

I hope this critique may be of some help to anyone who is thinking of booking the Riu …and holidaying in Las Cabos. If anyone has any questions I can help with … I would be glad to answer them. My email address is jlrae@telus.net Be sure to mention the Riu in the subject line or I may accidentally delete your letter.

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