As I am a travel agent, I have been to many wonderful locations and stayed at beautiful resorts. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the new Riu Palace las Americas in Cancun, June 14-21/04. It was my first trip to the area and I will definitely return.
Arrival and Flight: The flight was on time and a quick 3 ½ hours to Cancun from Toronto. After going though the Mexican immigration it was very easy to find our way to the Sunquest buses parked out front. Ariel, our guide to the resort was fabulous! He was very friendly, funny and made us feel excited to be there. The bus ride to the resort was one the favourite aspects of my vacation. As the Riu Palace is near approximately 20 minutes down the strip, I was able to see all of the resorts/hotels along the way. It was neat to see all of the resorts/hotels that I have only seen pictures of in books and brochures. We arrived to the hotel around noon. We were given our bracelets and told that our room would not be available until 2:00 pm. We had lunch, toured the grounds and relaxed in the magnificent lobby which was furnished with a touch of Roman décor with marble pillars, busts, statues and lounge sofas. It was also decorated with a touch of the Baroque period with the crystal chandeliers, guilt framing of artwork and large mirrors which almost stretched from the ceilings to the floor. The ceilings were quite elevated. There was always someone in the lobby to answer any questions one may have. However, the Sunquest representative was not available at all during the week at our resort. My grandparents happened to get upgraded from the Riu Cancun to the Riu Palace a few days before we arrived. The day before they left, they could still not find the Sunquest representative to see what time they had to be in the lobby for their departure. A Riu employee told them to go to the Riu Cancun to find him. My 75 year old grandfather went next door and found the representative, but was annoyed that he was not available at the Riu Palace nor was there a sign in the lobby stating what time to be ready as there was for Apple Vacations, Worry-Free Vacations, etc… When it was our time to leave a few days later, we had to do the same thing.
When we checked in, I asked if it was possible to be upgraded to an ocean view room and they were happy to accommodate my request. We were given a beautiful ocean/pool view located on the third floor. When we walked into our suite we were pleasantly surprised; it was stunning! It consisted of a large king size bed, a full bathroom with double sinks, a closet that could have fit both of our entire wardrobes, a mini fridge with a liquor dispenser, a good size TV with satellite stations, a sunken-in living area with a coffee table and love seat couch and a large balcony with spectacular views of the ocean and pool. These were only a few of the many amenities the suite had to offer.
The resort consisted of two main infinity pools, a children’s pool and several jacuzzi’s that all faced the ocean. The two main pools were classified by the guests as the “party” pool and the “quiet” pool. Surrounding the “quiet” pool were not lounge chairs, but eight large beds (4 on each side of the pool) with white pillars circling them. They were beautiful and comfortable. Since these were the only form of lounge chairs around this pool and one had to get there quite early to get one. The “party” pool had plenty of lounge chairs and a swim up bar. There is also a pool bar located right next to the pool. Drinks and food were always plentiful! One does not have to wait very long to be served drinks at this resort. The pools and jaccuzi’s closed everyday at 7 pm to be cleaned and chemically treated. This annoyed some guests.
There are six restaurants; five a-la-carte and one buffet. Reservations and proper attire were not required for the buffet restaurant. The a-la-cartes required men to wear long plant, dress shoes and dress shirts. They were very strict with this as we saw men turned away from the restaurants for not being properly dressed. One thing I heard people complaining about was the reservation system. If you wanted a reservation at one of the a-la-cartes, you had to make one everyday between 7 am and 10:30 am. You could not make them for the entire week as you can at other resorts. The restaurants that would fill up first: were the Japanese, Sir Arthur (British themed) and the Steakhouse. A few days I made reservations at 10:15 am with no problems at the Brazilian and Tapas restaurant. If you wanted to make a reservation at one of the more popular restaurants than you did have to get up quite early (if you’re not already an early riser). We ate at 3 of the a-la-carte restaurants and they were good. Our favourite was the Steakhouse. We also ate at the Brazilian and the Tapas restaurants. At the Brazilian restaurant we were not given menus and the servers would come by our table with large skewers of different kind’s meat and put individual pieces on our plates, six in total. I was very full by the end of the meal. At the Tapas restaurant we were also not given a menu. The servers brought out several different plates and once again we got to try everything on the menu. This restaurant was a Spanish theme with flavours from Spain and it was decorated with bull heads and other Spanish Décor. Both of these restaurants were enjoyable and a different experience. The buffets were fabulous. We actually preferred eating there for all three meals. There was so much diversity and there was a different main course every night at dinner. A couple examples include a pig roast, roast chickens, snow crab, medley of seafood and roast beef. All of the meat was shaved right in front of you. All of the restaurants had a self-serve buffet of appetizers and desserts. All of the food and service was outstanding.
Overall, this resort was fantastic in every area. The Riu Palace las Americas’ staff was exceptional and would do their very best to make sure one’s stay was nothing less than perfect. Five out of the seven days during my stay, someone from the front desk called our room to make sure that everything was okay and that if there was anything they could do; all we had to do was ask. This was a nice gesture and showed their impeccable quality of customer service. The entire resort was immaculate and there was always someone cleaning, sweeping or dusting at all times. I will not hesitate to recommend this resort and other Riu properties throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. The outstanding service definitely made all of the difference. I cannot wait to return!