Old Reviews – RIU Sante Fe

  RIU Sante Fe   Paul ~ Toronto

February 2009

Arrival and check in were a breeze. Bracelets on the bus and a drink and your key were waiting.

Immaculate, and for the first time ever, in over 30 southern vacations, absolutely no bugs (except misquitos which came in when the door was open) were in the rooms. A door sweep was used at the bottom of the door and it worked wonders.

Restaurants and Bars
Very clean, and good service. Lunch is overly repetitive, with exactly the same items each and every day, with the exception of the chef’s special, which truly is the only thing that changed.

Bars were good, not overly crowded, but the patrons made the bars unbearable at times. Despite the fact that this was a more expensive five star, there was still plenty of drunken fools, swearing like truck drivers, making obscene gestures, throwing up, sleeping, fist fighting and being taken away in wheelchairs by security as they were too drunk to walk. This was more prevalent at night, but was also apparent during the day. I would not consider this an appropriate family resort.

The beach is very granular and difficult to walk on without shoes. You cannot swim, regardless of how good of a swimmer you are. This is not a beach resort and if that is important to you, this is not for you. The pools and grounds were very clean, probably the cleanest I’ve ever seen. It is clear that Riu has taken the hotel business very serious, the resort is well planned, things run smoothly and nothing seems out of place. I happened to catch what appeared to be a cleaning inspection where a supervisor type was taking the white glove finger test to the hall sconces in our hallway of building 4. Now that is attention to detail. Similarly, look up, when you are in any restaurant! I challenge you to find a single cob web, even 20 or 30 feet up. Simply the cleanest resort I’ve been to.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities at the hotel seemed lacking. The only time we saw the animation staff was during teh 3:00 crazy hour, which usually involved the same introduction over and over, and then some silly game.

Other Comments Cabo is a party town, and it is clear that this was the main priority of most other customers. Despite the fact that you are staying at a 5 star, do not expect that the other customers will necessarily be very refined. Not that there’s anything wrong with partying, but just beware, this is not really a family resort. If you are old enough to drink, in your 20’s, and want to party, I would totally recommend this resort. If you are not, however, I’d stay away.

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January 2009

Arrival: Jan 19-Jan 26 2009
Smooth and sweet, we got to the hotel after a 1 hour bus ride. The guide showed us Angelina Jolie’s residence on the way…popular spot.

Very clean and if you leave the A/C on there is no smell. We stayed in building #6 which was 2 minutes away from the beach…no big deal…after few days and meals you wished it was 20 minutes away. All the restaurants with the exception of the Steakhouse were very close, same with the reception…this helps out if you have to be there at 7 am and make reservations for the a-la-carte dinner. It was the first time we stayed on the ground level and we had no problems with bugs…it was very clean.

Restaurants and Bars:
We managed to eat each night at a restaurant. The Steakhouse was the best… Food was good and varied and the bar in the room was replenished every 2 days. Beach bars had Scotch Whisky and local drinks. Make reservations at 7 AM.

The grounds were very clean and very beautiful. Clean beach but no swimming in the ocean due to the currents. You have to hike 15 munutes on the beach to the closest swimming area.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The ATV tour in the mountains/desert (not the one on the beach) was quite interesting and some of the trails a bit technical. Good value at $65 for 2.5 hours on the ATV. Go whale watching with the Ocean Riders for $80. The ride on the speed boats was thrilling and we managed to see groups of 4-5 whales plus dolphins. You have to get on the boat at the San Lucas (30 mins hike from Riu).

Other Comments: If you don’t care about swimming in the ocean and you like to hang around the pool, this is perfect for you! There is also a good gym, sauna and outdoor jacuzzi as well as free child care.

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  RIU Sante Fe   Cathy ~ Markham, Ontario

January 2009

Arrival: Jan.1-8, 2009
Our arrival was fantastic. The bus from Sunquest was waiting for us at the airport and the ride was pleasant and included a 1/2 hour video. We were given our hotel bracelets before getting on the bus, so when we arrived at the hotel we were immediately handed a drink and our room keys. We were able to drop everything off at our room and eat immediately at the la Baja California, which was excellent. The lobby was very spacious and organized and I don’t remember ever once waiting in a line up there at reception for anything during the week.

Absolutley no complaints! Another review mention a "sort of smell" in the rooms, but we solved this problem by simply leaving on the main switch which kept the air flow fan going. This one switch is a main control for all electricity in the room. Our room was cleaned daily and there was no short supply of essentials. The beds were very compfortable and our fridge was always stocked with ALL fluids any human needs. The decor was above average and well designed.

Restaurants and Bars:
We actually ate at all the restaurants and I like them all. Not that I consider myself easily pleased but the food was excellent! In order to get reservations be at the customer service desk in the main lobby between 7-9am. I always managed to get there by 7:30am and I guess that is why I was so successful at getting all the restaurants. My favourite was the Italian restaurant – Carusso -it was MAGNIFICO!

The pool area was beautiful and clean. We stayed in buiding 4 which was excellent because we could walk to all pools with ease. The service was amazing at all the bar pools and we never wanted for nothing. The cleaning staff were always cleaning and the grounds were kept immaculate!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went zip lining with Wild Canyon Adventures – Ekopark in Las Cabos and my family had an amazing time. WE FELT VERY SAFE! We booked it through Walmart which was only a 10 minute walk from the Sante Fe and where we found the best prices. The cab ride which was part of the price picked us up on time and there was no problem getting there and back to the park. Fernando Ortiz was so friendly and helpful and was always reasuring the whole way! My kids ages 10 & 12 had the time of their life. The view from the main grounds was breathtaking as you could see the ocean and the dessert from one spot. They also took beautiful pictures while zip lining which you can of course purchase for a reasonable fee. My husband and son also went Dune buddying on the beach – a little pricey but highly recommend it. They will hit you up for $35.00 extra for insurance once you get there and the guy at the Walmart tour booth does not tell you this. The insurance is worth getting because if you even blow a tire you have to replace it and it can cost $150.00. The kids also went wave running right on the beach which we purchased from Josey. Josey also took us over to Lover’s beach on his boat – 8 people cost 550 pesos ($55.cdn/approx.)and we brought snorkel gear (you can get this at Walmart) and it was a great experience. We also rented a car from National at the hotel and drove up the coast to the Hotel California in Todos Santos where we had lunch. This was an experience in its self! The food was excellent and the atmosphere was better than the song. On the way back we stopped at a breath taking place called Art & Beer – translated = Art Music Beer. We thought we were on Gilligan’s Island. We ordered margaritas, beer and seafood dishes. The portions were huge and the owners very generous plus the price was right. This is a must see on the way back from Todos Santos.

Other Comments: I would highly recommend the Riu Sante Fe and considered it a 5*. I was not disapointed by any means. The only thing you MUST be careful of is the waves on the beach. They don’t call them KILLER WAVES for anything. During January-April I was told the waves were much calmer. Please don’t let your very little kids or inexperienced swimmers near the beach unattended. The waves come so sudden and can go up the hill of the beach without much notice. I soaked a towel and a pair of running shoes instantly. I also saw a mother let her 3 year old walk down there while she was taking photos from 30 feet away. The life guard got to him before I did and warned her. Let common sense prevail.

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  RIU Sante Fe    Heather ~ Ontario, Canada

December 2008

Arrival: Nov. 13-27, 2008
smooth. speedy. friendly. beautiful lobby. wrist bands handed out on bus ahead of time. drinks being passed around.

clean, fresh, accomodating. no problems. we were in building three which was central to all. don’t worry if you do not get building seven like all the rest of the reviews. you have quite a walk to the main lobby and entertainment areas

Restaurants and Bars:
lobby bars great. pool bars busy, but always ready to serve. the beautiful lobby should have a bar so the nice couches can be utilized.

tidy, beautiful. bar pools are warm (wonder why?) but the big pools are nice and refreshing. lots of room.

Activities on and off the resort/hotel:
staff very friendly. try very hard to please everyone and get you involved but not too pushy.

Other comments: overall, a lovely place. huge! two buildings were not being used when we were there. no complaints on anything, only other noisy, obnoxious guests!

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  RIU Sante Fe   Fred & Sue ~ Exeter, Ontario

April 2008

My wife and I traveled to Mexico and we are in our young fifties.

Just returned from a wonderful trip to the Sante Fe in Los Cabos Mexico. How anyone can find anything wrong with this resort is beyond us. Yes there are not any elevators to your rooms, just ask for ground floor if it is an issue, and yes the beach is a five minute walk, oh wow that hurts, like you really don’t need a good walk once in a while. The staff was great the food was good. Not sure where people say they could not find hot coffee or hot dishes to enjoy. We found exactly the opposite. Fresh fish everyday and seafood was always on hand. We loved the Asian restaurant so much we went twice.

The pools are fabulous and always-cleaned everyday, we would agree a few more washrooms a little closer to the pool would be better but there again just a short walk and you were fixed up with super clean facilities. The beach was great fun to walk on and we loved to talk to the local venders on the beach we had so much fun.

All in all, we would recommend this resort to anyone. Going the first part of April is likely the best for the evenings are starting to warm up by then. We only had two or three nights that my wife had to wear sleeves latter part of the week was great. We are looking forward to going back again someday.

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March 2008

We departed from Pearson airport in Toronto. Check in was a breeze as the lines were not too long. There was a bit of a delay at security, however, the lines here did not even come close to comparing to the huge line at the Tim Horton’s outlet beyond security.

We flew Skyservice which has very cramped quarters. Flight was over 5 hours to Los Cabos International Airport. We left at 7am. On the flight we were offered an egg sandwich as well as coffee, tea and beverages.

Arrival in Mexico.
Entrance into Mexico was quite smooth. Immigration was a breeze. They scan your bags at security and then you have to push a button. Green light means you can proceed… red light means your bags get hand-searched. We went out through the time-share lobby (there was no one there this early) and stepped onto our air-conditioned coach.

Bus ride to Riu Santa Fe
Bus ride took about 40 minutes through San Jose Del Cabo and onwards towards Cabo San Lucas. Great views of the dessert surroundings and of the Sea of Cortez. During the bus ride, we were pre-booked by a Riu rep as our rooms would not be ready on our arrival. We were issued bracelets which would allow us to eat, drink and have fun at the hotel till our rooms were ready. On our arrival, we were surprised to find that our own room was indeed ready.

The Resort
Upon arrival at the resort, we got off the bus and were warmly welcomed with a drink and by plenty of helpful staff.

One thing that is very much obvious is that this resort is kept immaculately clean. There are workers everywhere cleaning, sweeping and waxing floors, doing landscaping and making sure the resort is always looking it’s best. The main building has a spacious lobby. The reception desk in the lobby was always fully staffed, they spoke good English and were able to help you in any way.

Also in the lobby, you can find the different tour reps selling excursions. There wasn’t much different from one to the next and prices seemed to all be the same. If you are travelling with Sunquest, you will have a meeting at some point with your travel Rep. We met our rep the next morning and she gave us a list of all the do’s and don’t as well as a list of excursions available.

Our room
We were in building 7 in room 7351. This is an oceanfront room with a great view of Land’s End and the Arch. Building 7 is also closest to the beach and the Infinity and bar pools. Our room was immaculately decorated and contained a king size bed. The room was equipped with a refrigerator containing soft drinks, beer and plenty of water. Above this was a liquor dispenser with 4 types of alcohol. Air conditioning worked well, but we didn’t need it at night. As a side-note, if you open the patio door, the air-conditioning will stop working. There is an electronic safe in the room which is free to use and everyone recommends that you should.

The Beach
The beach has very soft, granular sand. It is very difficult to walk on. As you’ve already heard, this is not a very good beach for swimming. Red flags were up each day. Each day there were close calls with children getting caught in the undertow. I am a strong swimmer and was also overwhelmed by the strength of the current. Plus the water was pretty cold.

There are water sports huts on the beach (Scuba Caribe and Natalia Sports). They can set you up with watercraft, water taxis, scuba diving and pretty much anything else you might want to do. Getting into water taxis here seemed difficult due to the large waves. Seemed easier to do in the morning when waves were usually smaller.

Be warned that there is no shade on the beach. There are no umbrellas or pallapas. There are also plenty of vendors selling carvings, jewelry, t-shirts, hats, etc. They go away when you say no but are very persistent and will not remember that you’ve said no to them 5 or 6 times already. There starting prices were high but we got some good deals, comparable to many of the shops at the Marina.

The pools
If you are a pool person, this resort is for you! There are plenty of pools and they are huge. The infinity pool was the coldest one there. The swim-up bars at the two side pools were the warmest (wonder why) and the large pool at the center of the resort was also quite warm. This large pool also has a swim-up bar.

Animation Staff
The animation staff are a lot of fun. They hang around the main pool in the center of the resort. They have a schedule and every day they do different things. Aerobics in the pool, ping-pong, bingo… there`s a bit of something for everyone. The animation staff also seems to take care of much at the night-time activities. We attended the Miss Riu competition (blah), the Mexican night (very good) and the Grease show (very good). The dancers were pretty professional and we were quite impressed.

The Food
The food at the buffet was varied and tasty. We were always able to find something good to eat. There was a variety of Mexican food as well as more traditional fare. Staff at the buffet worked really hard cleaning tables and keeping your glasses filled.

All of our breakfasts and most dinners were eaten at the Baja California. We had one visit to the Mexican à la carte. It was okay. They served you an entrée at the table and everything else was buffet style. Most of the other things were also available at the main buffet that night. 2 of the À la carte restaurants were open air. It gets quite cold at night so many people make reservations but don’t go.

The bars
Bar service was always exceptional. There was very few time spent waiting for service. Drinks were consistent and top-notch booze was available for the asking. All bars have blenders and the staff were not afraid to use them. During the day, we spent most of our time by the bars closest to the beach. At night, we’d go for Martini’s at the lobby bar. Mornings always started off with a coffee and Irish Cream at the Sports Bar.

Marina and shopping
We took a taxi to the Marina (10$). The walk around the marina is quite good. You can shop at the mall or simply enjoy the boardwalk. You will see plenty of nice boats, meet plenty of vendors. However, beware of the timeshare sharks offering you trips and excursions in exchange for 90 minutes of your time. Yes, you can do timeshare presentations and get money or excursions for your time, but read the fine-print and be cautious. We also took a ride to Walmart. Not much to be seen here and prices were not much better than at home. If you were looking for alcohol to bring home, they had it there but not always the best price.

The staff is very friendly. It was very rare that you crossed a staff member without being greeted. Most of the front line staff spoke excellent or good English. In case Riu management is reading this, I’d like to outline some of the staff that went out of our way for us. Francisco and Osman in the Baja California. Miguel (bar manager) and Gabby (at beach front bar) and Josie in the sports bar.

Internet access
Internet access is available in the Sports Bar. It’s pay for use and I saw people with laptops so I assumed that wireless was also available. A word of advice though, when you logoff from your internet session, make sure you disconnect from your email provider (hotmail, yahoo, etc). Almost each time I logged in and went to one of these sites, I was automatically already logged in to someone else’s email account. I set the computers I used to clear the cache, history and cookies, but I don’t know if that change stuck or not. So make sure you logoff of your email account.

Cool evenings
I’m from Northern Ontario. However, I was not prepared for the cold in the evening. You WILL need a jacket. You WILL need long pants and you WILL wear them. It was very chilly.

Spring Breakers
Yes, it was spring break and yes there were spring breakers. For the most part, they all seemed to congregate in one pool and most of them were very respectful of the guests. With any large group, there were a few bad apples, but to be honest, there were some older guests who were just as unruly and wild as the spring breakers.

We were delayed at departure but return trip home was pretty uneventful. Check in is very slow as all bags are hand-searched.

For some pictures of the resort, visit

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at gaudreaur+CABO2008@gmail.com —

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February 2008

We just returned Feb 26, and will have to say this is no 5 star or 4 star resort. The check in was terrible I could not understand Mexican and they acted like who are you. They put us on the third floor, none of the buildings have elevators or hand rails. And being a senior citizen it was pretty rough a senior citizen. There was 93 steps each way. The poor porter carrying the bags up those steps, must be rough. My back finally went out, and I had to find a doctor.The complex is too spread out, 903 rooms in 7 buildings. There was no coffee pot in the rooms , but rum dispensers . So each morning you had to go down 93 steps to FIND coffee. When you get there NO COFFEE! The meals were not much,as mentioned in other reviews. The hamburger buns were crumble like they were weeks old, hamburgers look terrible,same old selection each day,the different restaurants was a joke, standing in line to make a reservation. Then when you get to the restaurant it is half full and the same buffet line! The evening show was corny and in Mexican , could understand them, and started about10 o’clock. When I checked out they had me charger for phone calls I did not make. That was a hassle to get straightened out . So I would not recommend the location or return. The room service was terrible, the room was black woodwork, No chairs to relax in your room. You could not drink the water from the faucet, but other hotels, time shares, you can drink the water they have their own filtering system. Why could not they!NO! NO! NO RIU SANTE FE….

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  RIU Sante Fe   BJ ~ Winnipeg

February 2008

Your Arrival
Our arrival at the airport was nice and quick. We didn’t bother to wait for the bus to take us to the resort, we took a taxi with our friends (4 all together). It was $20 a person and the guy got us there in 25 minutes. Once at the hotel, we beat everyone so check in was a breeze and the guy that worked the front desk as very helpful. Lots of workers to take your luggage but we declined.

Rooms 5 out of 5

Rooms were very nice, dark wood, ours had a king bed, and lots of tile and granite. Out balcony was small in conparison to others, you could just barely fit 4 people and chairs on ours. Every thing was clean (floors were a little dirty) and there was no smell, as said in other reviews. The air conditioner doesn’t take the humidity out of the room and the room seemed to get warm around the middle of the night (maybe they cut the power??).

Restaurants Main 4 out of 5 Alacarte 2 out of 5

Asian – wait till you get home and go to your local restaurant instead. Sevice was awful…we got our water poured then never had service again.

Italian restaurant – small menu, half buffet style, it was ok. Didn’t waste our time at the other two (Grill, Italian). Main restaurant was good. Always kept clean, adequate seafood, where you sat was hit or miss for service. Beware the burgers, make sure they’re cooked.

Pizza was the best for pool side snacking but don’t leave any food unattended or you’ll have a few dozen sea gulls sitting on your lounge chair.

Bars 4 out of 5 The disco…..Stunk….literally. Tenders were hit and miss, some good some bad. Everyone raved about the Miami Vice drinks but try a Banana Mama….that’s the best smoothie/daquiri drink. Don’t expect to drink coffee, it’s instant (you make it yourself).

Pool side tenders were the best (best english too).

Beach and Pools beach 2 out of 5 pool 4.5 out of five Pools were warm, the swim-ups the warmest. Never swam in the pool by the restarant. Pools were clean and treated (saw them doing it). But I really wonder about the drunks that never leave the pool – yuk. They wash the pool deck every day. We swam in the ocean, was more like lake temperature back home. The only current noticable was right at the shore because of the steep shore. Towards town the beach leveled off and was calmer. Sat on the beach one day and never returned…..pestered too much by locals selling stuff…over…and …over…and …over!!!!!!! Stayed by the pool the rest of the trip. Sea gulls would poop all over the lounge chairs on the beach and they never got cleaned. There was horse poop on the beach the never got cleaned day after day. One horse took a piss right beside some people on lounge chairs.

Quick little walk to marina from resort via beach. No security on beach at night.

Grounds 5 out of 5

Very clean ground and nicely landscaped. In the morning there was a little too much water lying around from overnit watering but soon disappeared.

Activities Very little for activities compared to other Mexico and caribean places. Those that went to swim with the dolphins enjoyed themselves.

Our best bang for the buck was to rent the jet ski for $40 for 45 mins was the best bartering deal. We would then go out and see the whales our selves (they were quite regular, better in the morning), drive by the sea lions, buz the cruise ship, view the harbour/marina, see the pininsula up close and observed wild doplhins. We rented twice.

Conclusion For the money i paid, the resort was fine! Wouldn’t want to pay full price. Good food, clean, bed was cumfy, stay in Building 7. It’s the one closest to the beach and the only one with an elevator. The tipping would seem to go for nothing, we never got anything extra for it. I would call this resort a 4.5 star.

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  RIU Sante Fe   Ginette ~ Winnipeg

January 2008

We just returned from a 1 week stay at the Sante Fe. This resort has only been open for a few months and therefore we need to realize that not everything will be perfect. It is very large and beautiful. The rooms are quite large with very comfortable beds, large closet space and bathroom as well as a full bar service. The check-in was the quickest and most efficient we have ever experienced. Our keys were handed over the minute we walked into the lobby from the bus. This in part has to do with the Sunquest reps that are on site all day long. The food was surprisingly not bad. We are not fans of buffets and preferred it to the restaurants. The a la cartes are something to be desired. They do need to address the food quality there. The Steak House offered the best out of the 4 restaurants. The entertainment in the evening was quite boring. The entertainment staff try hard to please but come up short sometimes and that may be due to the fact that the hotel is operating only at about 50% capacity. There are pools all over the place. The ones by the beach are really cold compared to the ones in the interior of the complex which are much warmer. There are plenty of loungers everywhere so there is no need to get up early to find one. The bars offer a good selection of drinks. There is internet service offered in the Sports Bar. We found that the tours offered by the tour reps in the lobby are more expensive then if you booked with the same people that run the tours right on the beach. Do compare before you book as you could save yourself some money. The beach is beautiful but hard to walk on because of the incline. Great way to shape up those legs! Swimming in the ocean is definitely something you do not do as the undertow is really strong. Stick with the pools. We walked to Cabos San Lucas via the beach and it took us approximately 20 minutes at a fast pace. The marina is nice and worth a look during the day and in the evening. Get out to The Giggling Marlin for a fun night. The days were quite warm but the evening are cool to cold therefore sweaters or jackets were needed.

The Riu’s do have a reputation and I think the Sante Fe is up there. I would try the Palace which is right next door next time.

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RIU Sante Fe Jennifer ~ USA

November 2007

RIU Sante Fe was a complete diasapointment. Even though it was brand new and had a spectacular view, it had a smell that permiated my leather carry on bag. I still smelled it well after I got home. We upgraded to a ocean front room that had a spectacular view. The wait staff was excellent, however the check in staff were flat out liars. They would tell you what ever it was you wanted to hear – but never came through. People should know that the ice makers don’t work. The pools are dirty because the filtration system doesn’t work. However the pools are beautiful. There are no restrooms at the pool! There is a changing room. But if you want to go to the bathroom you have to walk up to the restaurant. How often do you think drunks are walking all the way up to the restaurant to go to the restooms? Exactly why I didn’t get in the water. It’s a good half mile to the front of the resort. No trams to take old people, or people with children or just people who didn’t care to walk themselves to death. I didn’t gain any weight. But I didn’t lose weight not just because of the walk, I didn’t gain weight because the food is marginal to poor. Breakfast was good. Lunch was not good. Dinner -go into town. No room service. The hamburgers were gushy. Soybean at best. The hot dogs were gross. The french fries were precooked and limp. You can cover up a whole lot of sins with Americans if you just feed them a decent burger & fries. Burgers were beyound nasty.

I bought this trip because of the price. I got what I paid for. We had a great time, because that’s what we do. But this was my first RIU experience and will be my last. We won’t do it again.

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