Six of us stayed at the Riu Oct 1-8 and found:
Airline: Skyservice is a flying sardine can. They should really do away with the rock hard bun in a box lunch and maybe more leg room. I am under six feet and I was so cramped in, it was unbelievable. Also, they were late getting back into Toronto (3 am) and with the baggage carousel breaking down 5 times, we didn’t get home until 5 am. Not the Riu’s fault, of course, but it does put a damper on a GREAT VACATION
Lobby is spacious, beautiful, well lit. The people, both on and off the resort are some of the nicest, gracious people I have ever met (taxis, wait staff, servers, etc.) We went over to Atlantis (which is right next door) a few times and found the people very stuck up and, quite frankly, irritating. We were happy not to have booked rooms there.
Rooms: Clean, though a little tired (the washrooms need an update, though they are clean) and the balconies are small, though good to sit out and have a smoke or a drink while watching the waves come in. We had rooms on both the pool and "air conditioner" side, and while both were nice, a word of advice, avoid rooms with even numbers on the 2nd and 3rd floors (you will be directly over the AC units) and try to get higher numbers if you want beautiful ocean views (we had 428 which was near the ocean end of the hotel and it was spectacular) The minibar was funny (a fridge, which was well stocked and a little "medicine chest" above with a dispenser of brandy, vodka, gin and rum, which is something I’ve never seen before)
One interesting note, the hotel is a smoking hotel, but the rooms (except for the Calipso room downstairs) were not stale and did not smell of smoke at all.
Food: Six of us, seven days, three meals a day, we had about 120 meals over the course of the vacation and we had one meal that was…suspect. Breakfast on Thursday was not the greatest and the coffee was a little strong that day. Other than that – excellent. We went to the steakhouse one night and the Japanese another, buffets the rest. The steaks were good, though you have to be very specific with the order (medium rare is almost blue, so you may have to bump it up a bit). My father-in-law and sister-in-law had never had sushi before and were unwilling to try, though I managed to coerce them into it. "Absolutely marvelous" was his response and the entire meal was spectacular – you must try it if you can.
We all found it amusing that the hotel manager comes out right at 6:30 to ring the dinner bell – lterally, as he yells DINNERTIME at the top of his lungs. Everyone found that hilarious.
Premium brands, well made (heavy on the booze, so ask them to put only a little in if you’re not a drinker) and good selection
Outside stuff: We tried the moonlight dinner cruise (quaint, food was mediocre, ambiance was good if you go to the top deck). The dolphin experience was good, worth the $85. We golfed at Ocean Club ($200 +$70 for clubs) which, if you are a golfer, is an amazing experience. Shopping was not bad, especially if you like jewellry. We went downtown to the Straw Market, which is like an industrial sized flea market, good bargains.
Overall, no complaints, nice place, we plan to go back.