Newest Review: ... to be sleeping in, what appeared to be, a hospital cot in the corner of the room. The bed's my two companions slept in looked amazingly c... more
A shot of Tequila?
RIU Tequila (Mexico)
Member Name: bilbob20
RIU Tequila (Mexico)
Date: 05/07/12, updated on 05/07/12 (38 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent service, beautiful grounds, excellent entertainment, plenty to do
Disadvantages: The only real complaint is that you have to dress for dinner, and the airport drama
This is only the second time I have ever travelled on an all inclusive holiday, last year opting for a less than admirable hotel in Hisoronu, Turkey, and was quite keen not to repeat the experience. This year, I was persuaded by the group who I holiday with to give it a go, as one of the couple's had stayed at a Riu hotel in Dominican Republic. I have to say that it completely changed my perspective of an all inclusive holiday, but also really put a light up to how poor most European and Turkish all inclusive holiday's are by comparison.
We arrived on the 12th June 2012, after an 11 hour flight. The 11 hour flight was the worst thing about the holiday, and for those of you not great at flying, it might just be a few hours too long. One of the couple's in our group really really struggled with the flight, and felt quite ill afterwards - drama queens!
For me, the flight was less unpleasant than I expected, given that Thompson's offered a reasonably acceptable entertainment package for only £5, and served up food that wasn't entirely inedible.
Having arrived in Mexico, there was an absolute calamity at the airport. You do have to fill in a form on the plane that you then return to immigration when leaving the country along with the princely sum of £50 (800 pesos). It transpired that we then had to fill in another form once through customs- nobody mentioned this - and it caused no end of problems with people pushing each other out of the way to get through, huge queue's of people filling in forms with no explanation as to why, and generally some of the worst manners in human beings I have ever witnessed. Just wanted to mention this to get it out of the way for anybody travelling to Cancun.
The hotel was absolutely stunning. You enter a huge reception area, where you are served instantly with a small refreshment and your handed your keys with very little waiting or fuss, and your cases are whisked away to your room on your behalf within the hour. We were then ushered through the complex which is massive, and shown to our rooms which were far enough out of the way that we were never disturbed by the entertainment, loud holiday makers or any other disturbances at ungodly hours. The rooms were adequate, although not as good on the eye as everything else within the complex.
Our room was a double room, although it housed 3 of us. I was slightly irked by this. The holiday cost us approximately £1,300 each for a fortnight, so I at least expected not to be sleeping in, what appeared to be, a hospital cot in the corner of the room. The bed's my two companions slept in looked amazingly comfortable. Mine, not so much. A small complaint though. The room was cleaned every day, and not just wiped over, but properly cleaned with fresh towels, fresh bedding, and I even walked in when the maid had pulled all of the furniture out to clean under it. There were also optics in the room which allowed us to have the drink of our choice before going out at night, without having to take it with us. Beers and soft drinks were replenished in the fridge every day.
There were 3 restaurants of choice within our complex, although I have to point out that our arm bands also allowed us to use the facilities and restaurants of the other 2 complex's across the road, both of which sat directly on the beach. The first restaurant was a huge buffet bar that just about catered to every whim. Seafood, every meat known to man, vegetarian options, Mexican, Spanish, Chinese, Indian; all cooked freshly and on the menu every night. There were no shortages of choice for breakfast and dinner. Lunch was served at the pool-side restaurant, again buffet options, but later turned into a swankier steak restaurant that you had to book in the morning. The rib-eye that I was served was the nicest steak I've ever had, and cooked exactly as I ordered it. The third restaurant was an oriental option, servicable but less varied than the other two. The only downside is that you had to dress at least smart but casual in the evening for dinner at any three of the restaurants, something not entirely pleasant in the soaring heat unless you have gone with plenty of linen shirts etc.
The pool also had a swim-up bar, where many of us spent our lazier days. Although I dont drink alcohol during the day, there was no shortage of fanta being passed up the bar by the extremely attentive bar people. As per every member of staff at the complex, they were friendly and attentive regardless of whether you tipped them a tenner or tipped them into the water. It was fairly obvious that they work for their tips, but the more miserly people around the bar were treated with the same courteousy and attention to service as the people who were happy to give their appreciation in cash. What was also notable is that all drinks were included 24 hours a day at any open bar in the hotel, so there was no need to run back to your room to fetch extra cash once the bar shut its free doors.
There was also a night club available on the complex, but we refrained from going in there. It looked as if the average age was 12 and a half. I still enjoy the occasional night out clubbing, but as the youngest of the 18 strong group, I dont really feel like getting down with the kids. I opted for more low key evenings, with the animacion entertainment group, who provided some of the best hotel entertainment I've ever seen. Everything from a carribean night, to a re-enactment of Grease (which I must say was the only pitiful element of the entertainment the entire fortnight I was there), through to a brilliantly done recreation of Mamma Mia. There was also a sports bar that would stay open 24 hours, with pool tables etc, that was turned into a small arena for football matches. On those occasions, we were deafened by some very loud English, Spanish and German supporters. Note that the only volume from us scots usually came outwith football match times.
There was also plenty of daytime activity on the grounds, with the complex housing various different sports equipment. The entertainment team are there from 10am to amuse the kids, get the adults in for a bit of a work out, and basically shake those hangovers out of you in preparation for the next night of partying, or quiet socialising, whichever grabs you. I have to say that aside from the entertainment itself, the entertainers were extremely personable and, on one of the extremely torrential days, sat with us and had other people's kids up on the stage for dance practice. They were really excellent all-rounders.
About ten minutes walk from the complex is Fifth Avenue, which is the Main Street of shops in the area. Plenty of fun can be had bartering with the guys down there, although some were slightly aggressive, and we were offered (half-jokingly, half-not) some questionable products that I dont think the older crowd would have enjoyed too much. All in all though, most were friendly, and it wasn't as scary as many scaremongers would have believe. You just have to be able to say no, not allow yourself to be bullied into buying anything, but most of us have had experience with pushy sales people on the phone or at the front door, so saying no to these guys will be a push over for most of us now.
There were plenty of other trips offered, and we opted to go with the guys down the town rather than the hotel reps. We were told it wasn't as safe with those guys, but I dont think thats the case. For instance, a couple of our hotel paid £85 to go to the all inclusive evening at Coco Bongo, Playacar's premier night club, and we managed to get our guy down to £42 each for the same all inclusive package. The evening was amazing, and CB is the best club I've been to in years. Entertainment is laid on thick and heavy with an ongoing cabaret and acrobatic show that is interactive with the audience. There was also plenty of ground level entertainment and the service again was second to none. Just tip your waiter when you go in and he'll keep those drinks coming all night, at no additional cost.
We also took part in the jet ski's and parasailing expiditions that were five minutes along the beach from where we were. Both were amazing ventures, although the parasailing was shorter than I would liked it to have been. I wouldn't normally have tried something like that, as I'm a bit of a danger stranger, but the fact that you go up in two's made it more enticing, and once I was up there, I was absolutely thrilled by the experience. There are plenty other water sports that you can enjoy as well. All of these are available on the beach at cut prices. Again, I would say go with the guys down there or down at the local sales offices, as you can get it for almost half the price of the hotel rep's without any more or less safety guarantee.
The last of our trips, and one that I was most excited about, were the Mayan Ruins. The trip turned out to be less exciting than I thought it might be, although the swim in the underground lagoon definitely made it worthwhile. I have seen many more spectacular ruins than those one's on those grounds, and there seemed to be something staged about the whole affair. That said, it wasn't entirely unpleasant, and the visit to where the Mayan people themselves lived was quite education if not a little over-explained by our enthusiastic tour guide.
All in all, the holiday was a blast, with good company, good food, and plenty of drink available, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The journey itself was the only drawback to what turned out to be one of the best holiday's I've been on. We even got treated to the occasional tropical thunder storm and torrential downpour but, being scottish, we barely flinch at such downpours. Our summer's wouldn't be our summer's if we weren't drenched at least 3 times a week. At least this rain was still warmish, and served to cool us down slightly. The hotel was stunning, the service was unquestionably good, and the food was the best holiday food I've ever eaten. It made me squirm when I returned home and didn't find a banquet awaiting me in the fridge.
Summary: An excellent 2 weeks spent in Mexico - and at one of the top hotel's I've visited
More reviews in the field of Hotel International
- Casati Budapest Hotel (Hungary)
- Novotel Paris CDG Terminal (Paris)
- Meltemi Suites (Santorini)
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Atlanta Arpt West (USA)
- Staybridge Suites Montgomery - EastChase (Alabama)
- Hotel Carribe (Salou, Spain)
- Travelodge Hotel & Resort Darwin (Australia)
- Tropical Queenslander Hotel (Cairns, Australia)
- Hi Tamaino Tropical Puerto de Santiago (Tenerife, Spain)
- Ben Guesthouse (Chiang Mai, Thailand)