Hotel Review: RIU Palace Riviera Maya

Hotel Review: RIU Palace Riviera Maya

The RIU Palace Riviera Maya fits perfectly into the gated community of Playacar in Playa Del Carmen, just 34 miles from Cancun International Airport. Built in 2006 as the RIU chain’s sixth hotel in the area, the hotel features 400 junior suite guest rooms.  Additional superior junior suites, and suites with outdoor jacuzzis are also located on the property.

Each guest is entitled to free wi-fi (accessible on up to 5 devices per room) available around the entire hotel. As a result, guests can FaceTime with their loved ones while their toys are in the sand.

RIU Palace Riviera Maya plaza

Guest Rooms at RIU Palace Riviera Maya

The guest rooms are in the classic RIU hacienda style, featuring dark wooden beds and furniture, with a white and beige color scheme.  I stayed in a garden view room, with one large king bed (it slept three full size adults!), a couch, and a roll-away bed. The bathroom was spacious and had a Jacuzzi-jet tub. Overall, my only complaint with the room was that due to its hacienda style, the lighting was very dim and it was hard to do my makeup if I wasn’t in the bathroom.

RIU Palace Riviera Maya junior suite

In addition, all rooms come equipped with wi-fi access, in room liquor dispensers, safe, balcony, and air conditioning.


Many vegetarian options are available throughout the hotel. The staff taking reservations informed us that if we notified them of a vegetarian in our party prior to the reservation, they would arrange a vegetarians meal for them.

Lamb Curry at Krystal Fusion Restaurant at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya

Lamb Curry at Krystal Fusion Restaurant at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya

The variety of food options at this hotel is unlike any RIU I had previously stayed at. In addition to the buffet that is open for all three meals, thev Brazilian, Japanese, Grill-Steakhouse, Mexican, and fusion cuisine restaurant (named Krystal) are open for dinner. Room service is available all 24-hours.

Chicken Satay with Fried Rice and Egg at Makaya the Japanese Restaurant at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya

Chicken Satay with Fried Rice and Egg at Makaya the Japanese Restaurant at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya

Out of all the restaurants, Brazilian was probably my favorite. Additionally, Fusion was my least favorite (in comparison to the one at RIU Palace Bavaro in Punta Cana, which had the same menu). As a result, I ended up visiting the buffet right after our reservation at Krystal.

Custom Omelette by Areli at the Buffet at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya

Custom Omelette by Areli at the Buffet at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya


The five bars are spread out throughout the resort: the lobby bar and sports bar on the entry level, the theater bar near the hotels main plaza, a terrace bar, and the swim up bar in the pool (with an out of water portion as well).

Beach and Pools

With plenty of shady areas created by palm trees and lounge chairs galore, the beach at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya is spectacular. As a result of Hurricane Wilma, the beach was severely damaged. It was later restored to include a long stretch of sand leading to the water of the Caribbean Sea. The white sandy beach stretches for miles in each direction, making this a beach-walker’s paradise.

RIU Palace Riviera Maya beach

The resort is home to two large, connected pools. The activity pool features a designated section with built-in jacuzzis and a swim up bar.

RIU Palace Riviera Maya pool


At all the pools and beaches, you can find waiters walking around, taking orders, and bringing beverages to anyone who looks thirsty.

Insider tip: if you want constant service all day, tip the waiter in the morning and let him known to come back often… he will.

Other Amenities

The hotel features a full service Renova spa, with beauty services, massages, among other services. A full service menu is available online. The spa is open from 8 am to 8 pm every day. Furthermore, the spa’s sauna and hot tub, along with the outdoor meditation facility, are a part of the all-inclusive amenities of the resort. Any other service is available for an additional fee.

The Gym

The hotel gym facility is open everyday from 7 am to 8 pm. The gym features a variety of cardio machines and weight lifting equipment.

The equipment includes:

  • 2 treadmills
  • a stepper
  • 2 exercise bikes
  • an elliptic trainer
  • a rowing machine
  • an abdominal machine
  • a leg machine
  • a back machine
  • free weights

RIU Palace Riviera Maya promenade



The RIU Fun entertainment team has a large presence at this resort. The team is responsible for leading all sorts of activities that include: water aerobics, stretching on the beach, volleyball, horseshoes, BINGO, and dance lessons.

They also offer a Mini-Club for children ages 4-12. Children of all ages participate in the Kids Show, also known as a Mini-Disco, every night in the theater. Children can dance and participate in games to win prizes that include candy, hats, and other goodies.

RIU Palace Riviera Maya kids show

Water Sports

The all-inclusive fee of the hotel also includes all non-motorized water sports. Motorized water sports, such as jet-skis and fly-boards can be rented- for an additional cost.

Guests can also purchase excursions to XELHA and XCARET waterparks, located near the resort.

RIU Palace Riviera Maya beach

Outside the Resort

Paseo del Carmen is located a short twenty minute walk from the resort. Paseo is a nice shopping area featuring big name stores including Zara, Zara Home, Stradivarius, and Pull and Bear. It also features awesome gift shops and access to the main street in Playa: Fifth Avenue. This is also the place to catch a ferry for a day trip to the beautiful island of Cozumel. Playa del Carmen

Exchange Privileges

Staying at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya also allows you to have access to the five other RIU resorts in Playacar. The RIU Lupita property’s beach is right next door. Lupita is the smallest and least appealing out of the RIU resorts. It is located along the Playacar golf course.

Several hotels down the road is the RIU Playacar. While not a palace, this newly remodeled hotel is just as extraordinary. It features a beautiful exterior and interior, that is just as luxurious.

Next door is the RIU Palace Mexico, which has my favorite RIU hotel feature: a Cappuchino coffee bar! Another property resides across the street- RIU Tequila, the oldest of the properties, and home to La Piñata nightclub.  RIU Tequila guests do not have their own beach. As a result, a shuttle service is provided for guests to the RIU Playacar or Yucatan beach.

Lastly, RIU Yucatan is also newly renovated and features similar design aspects with the RIU Palace Mexico. I did not personally see this hotel, but per my parents’ opinions it was just as nice as the Playacar as well.

Playa del Carmen


Thank you to my wonderful brother and his vlog partner, Annie, for their help producing my first youtube video.



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