Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Review of the RIU Yucatan Resort Playa del Carmen Mexico

I was quite busy/jetlagged/lazy after coming back from a great week in Playa del Carmen, but finally I decided to attack my review of the RIU Yucatan Resort I stayed at with my wife from December 12th to the 20th.

The RIU Yucatan is located in the Playacar urbanisation which is just south of Playa
del Carmen which can be reached in 50 minutes driving south from the Cancun airport. After arriving shortly after 9.30 pm along with about 30 other guests we were brought to a room (apparently some dance club that was never open during our whole stay) above the reception. Once there our tour operator rep and someone from the hotel explained us a few things and handed us envelopes with the room keys, the lock for the safe and towel cards. We were assigned to a ground floor room in building #8, which is on the back of the resort, a two minute walk to the reception and about 4 minutes walk down to the beach. At first we thought about asking to change for a room closer to the beach but the building was really quiet as opposed to the ones closer to the beach and the restaurants so we finally decided to stay. Our luggage arrived in our room only a few minutes after we had arrived and we were ready to get a late meal at the Steak Restaurant that had been arranged for our group.

Rooms: The room was very nice, standard size and amenities like TV, Minibar, alcohol dispenser with rum, gin, wiskey and vodka. The minibar always contained enough water, beer (local Corona), Pepsi, 7up and some local soft drinks. The beds were a bit hard but we still managed to sleep comfortably. The bathroom area was separated from the room with a curtain and had a nice large sink area, a closet, a nice shower and a seperated WC. What we didn't like is that the safe was not a combination safe but worked with a key that you always had to carry around with you, same with the room keys that were not cards but actual keys so it was not that convenient to take those two keys to the beach everyday, I would have preferred to slip a card-key in my shorts. All in all the room was very clean and no complaints regarding the daily room cleaning, new sheets and towels every day.

Grounds: The resort grounds were very nice and clean, beautiful landscaping and not much visible damage from Wilma. Lots of birds, some exotic rodents I don't know the name of and even iguanas can be found while walking through the resort.

Pool: The pool was OK, clean but very crowded most of the time so we mostly avoided it.

Beach: However the beach was very beautiful. Powdery white sand, turquoise-blue water... this is what we had come for and we got it! Finding a beach chair was no problem here as opposed to the pool even if in the afternoons it was quite crowded as well. A few rocks in the water but not too much. Walking to the south there were only two other resorts and then just the beautiful almost empty beach. The water is very nice but there is not much to see for those who want to snorkel. Lots of fish but the visibility is not that good if you stay close to the shore where the fish are. I highly recommend taking the snorkel tour that is about 30$/person. After a 15 minute boat trip you get to a secluded beach with a very nice reef and lots of fishes and marine life.

Food: Right next to the reception and lobby area was the main restaurant (I think the name was Hacienda). Breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted of a buffet with a very wide choice of different food. I didn't miss anything... oh yes, actually I did miss some more Mexican food like burritos, they could be found but only one day or two during our stay. For lunch we were allowed to go to the other RIU resort's restaurants as well and the buffet at the Tequila was very good whereas the one at the Playacar was a bit disappointing. For dinner there were three other reservation only restaurants. Next to the buffet was the Asian restaurant. We tried it twice and the selection of sushi and other "Asian inspired" food was excellent. The Steak Restaurant close to the beach and pool had very good meat and we didn't get to try the Mediterranean Restaurant - coming from Spain we have enough Mediterranean cuisine here! Overall the service was very good in all places. The bars drinks where somewhat inconsistant but we still enjoyed our Pina Coladas and Daiquiris.

The RIU Yucatan is sold as a five star resort but compared to other ones I have visited I would give it a low four star rating.Would I come back? Maybe. But I think I would rather go a bit more to the south on the coast where the beaches seem to be even nicer and more secluded. It would have been a bit more relaxing vacation if it were less crowded. In the next days I will try to update the post with a few photos.