Hotel Review - Riu Palace Las Americas - Cancun Mexico
Riu Palace Las Americas Hotel Review
The Riu Palace Las Americas is situated in the hotel zone in Quintana Roo, Cancun, Mexico and offers luxurious accommodation at a reasonable price for most holiday-makers.
The hotel lobby is very stylish featuring neo-classical style throughout, from the Corinthian columns down to the Renaissance prints which decorate the walls.
The lobby is air-conditioned, a delicious coolness greets visitors entering through the rotating doors and the staff could not be more accommodating - guests are treated with respect and kindness and there is always a smile for everyone along with the food and drinks.
The Riu Palace Las Americas is a well designed hotel which is easy to navigate for the first time visitor as all significant areas lead directly from the lobby so it is impossible to get lost.
I stayed at Riu Palace Las Americas on a Thomson all-inclusive holiday, travelling from the UK. That meant that all food and drinks were included in the cost of the holiday so spending money could be kept to a minimum as long as I had no shopping sprees in mind.
Riu Palace Las Americas - Pool and Beach
The Riu Palace Las Americas is one of a number of Riu hotels in Quintana Roo in the Hotel Zone and if you are staying at one Riu Hotel, then you are automatically welcomed at all of the others.
The only condition is that you must eat dinner at your own hotel but you are welcome to use the facilities at all of the hotels and this includes enjoying drinks and snacks.
The pool at the Riu Palace Las Americas is an infinity pool and as you walk out of the doors to the pool area from the lobby, you are greeted by the sight of the wonderful pool and in the near distance, the Carribean Sea. The infinity pool is the same depth throughout (about 4' 10") and has mosaic steps leading down into the water from a number of places around the pool.
The stepped areas are good places for toddlers to swim and there is a small shallow area for toddlers too.
The pool is pretty chilly if you decide to swim in the morning but warmed up during the day and is somewhat warmer after midday.
There is a seated area where the infinity drop is situated and this provides you will a resting place to look out at the beautiful azure Caribbean Sea.
There are sunbeds all around the pool and even some stone 'double beds' (with padded liner so nice and comfortable) which have canopies overhead for a shady spot.
There are two pools at the Riu Palace Las Americas; the other is a small bar pool where all of the daytime activities take place - fun but somewhat noisy!
The Riu Palace Las Americas has a private beach and it is lovely. The sand is soft and golden and the sea just laps the shore gently for most of the time. There is a rocky area at the right of the beach but people seemed to enjoy snorkelling in that area and the sea is full of small fish, darting around as you swim.
The sea is shallow for a good way out before it gets deeper and so is a good beach for small children. The swimming area is safely cordoned off from the many jet-skis ans speedboats which operate outside of the area.
There are a number of water sports available - the motorised water sports have a cost but the kayaks and canoes are free and there is basic tuition available.
There are lots and lots of sunbeds available and there is no cost for them but there are no parasols on the beach.
There are regularly 'sellers' on the beach. You can buy seashells, bracelets, bangles and jewellery, blankets, rugs and hair braids and also get henna tattoos and 'mango, mango, mango' all day long.
But there was also an unwelcome visit from two men parading a lion cub on a leash and asking people to pay to have photos taken with it. They were boo'd off the beach for the most part though some people did pay for the photos.
The beach is very clean and every morning a member of the staff clears away all of the seaweed so that every area is clean, neat and tidy - waiters take orders for drinks from beach-dwellers as well as those sitting on the terraces so no need to budge if you want your thirst to be quenched.
Riu Palace Las Americas Dining
Dining at Riu Palace Las Americas can be as fine or as low key as you see fit.
There is a self-service buffet restaurant, the Restaurant Don Roberto which has a number of different themed nights, among them were Chinese, Carribean, Mexical and American nights.
Full waiter service is available and they just keep the drinks coming unless you tell them to stop.
International Night seemed to be a mixture of dishes from various parts of the world.
The food was plentiful and tasty with an excellent salad selection, pizza, soup and many, many fish dishes available every night in addition to the 'roast of the day' - we had lamb, pork, turkey and chicken and all were tender and delicious. The selection of vegetables was very good and for those with simpler tastes there were always fries, rice (various but the Mexican was especially good) and a good choice of cold meats too.
Desserts included cakes, cheesecakes, ice cream, pastries, fresh fruit and there was always a chocolate fountain which was especially good with the fresh strawberries dipped in it.
Some nights the chef made donuts, crepes or churros. There was always plenty of choice but the fresh fruit was always especially good and included pineapple, mango and papaya.
A selection of cheeses and crackers was available for those without a sweet tooth.
You could order wine, champagne, cocktails, beers and soft drinks with dinner and as mentioned earlier, these seemed to be unlimited.
There are 5 a la carte restaurants also available
- La Romera - steakhouse; we ate there and it was very good though the menu choices were not extensive.
- Sakuru - Japanese restaurant. We did not eat there but other guests said the food was excellent.
- Tio Pepe - Mexican restaurant which always seemed quite quiet; possibly because there was lots of Mexican food at the self-service buffet?
- Krystal - a 'fusion' restaurant which was full every night and required advanced booking.
- Los Arcos - An Italian restaurant which served lovely pizza, pasta and seafood dishes. Also served a delicious Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup!
Riu Palace Las Americas Entertainment
The Riu Palace Las Americas has entertainment on every evening from 8:30pm, though the early entertainment is meant for children and unless you have children is best avoided.
There follows an hour of entertainment by the resident band who are not half bad and do a selection of contemporary and older hits with a mixture of English and Spanish language songs too.
The main act comes on at about 9:50pm and is usually a themed dance show. It is all a bit cheesy to be honest but by 10pm we had already had a few drinks so we found it decent enough.
At 11pm, the compare will end the show and then offer interested guests the opportunity of joining the entertainment team in the lobby for the 'club' bus. The hotel run an escorted service to the club of choice for that evening and offer a fixed price for entry, drinks and transport. They visit a different club every night including Coco Bongo and DaddyO's.
The hotel has all the entertainment in an air conditioned theatre with terraced seating. A waiter service is available al night; on the all inclusive package al drinks are free.
Please remember the staff in the hotel rely on your tips to make up their wages. I read somewhere that the average pay for a barman in $6 a shift! Those tips must make a huge difference.
How much should you tip? That's up to you I suppose. There were 3 of us and we tipped at every round because the waiters changed and we didn't want them to miss out. Usually, we gave $2 per round (40 pesos) but we only stayed for about 5 drinks.
At breakfast, lunch and dinner we left $5 on the table after our meals. In the end though, tip what you can afford, it's your holiday, not mine :o)
Riu Palace Las Americas - Rooms
The rooms are described as 'junior suites' and are basically a double room with two double beds side by side and a step down smaller area containing a sofa, table and TV.
There is a good sized bathroom with hairdryer provided and two wash basins (very handy!) The shower was hot every night though we had issues with the shower head being a bit unstable, leading to some small spillage on the bathroom floor.
The rooms were very comfortable with good air-conditioning and the beds were comfortable.
There is adequate wardrobe space and an iron and ironing board were both provided.
All in all the suite was adequate for the three of us sharing (our daughter was with us).
Because we were on an all-inclusive holiday, the room is fitted out with optics containing Brandy, Bacardi, Vodka and Tequila (all good brands) and a fridge which is restocked every day. The fridge contained beers (Mexican lager, Dos Equis, it was very good), Pepsi, Pepsi-Lite, Seven Up, Soda Water and bottled water.
You really did feel well looked after!
We left a tip for our maid on the pillow every morning - $2 a day (40 pesos).
Each room has a balcony with chairs and a table but we didn't use it because of the mosquitoes (go prepared!)
Shopping And Outside Entertainment
Quintana Roo has one large shopping mall called La Isla but it is not all undercover, rather a selection of areas connected by concrete bridges.
It won't win any architecture prizes but it had a good selection of shops and also a few places to eat. Taxis along the main 'drag' in the hotel area are cheap. It cost us $11 to get to La Isla though you can catch the hotel zone buses for as little as 80cents (about 50p) but be prepared for the squash and occasional bursts of spontaneous singing!
There is a small concentrated clubbing area in the hotel area, a two minute taxi ride away or a fifteen minute walk.
Clubs like Coco Bongo are really more of a show than just a club and are fairly expensive but immensely entertaining.
There is the famous Senor Frogs where people are warned to wear swimsuits under their clothes because you may be forced down one of their infamous 'slides' into a bubble pool - don't wear your best bib and tucker! A teeshirt and shorts are the best clothes to wear.
Cancun offers everything the keen clubber could want but is also a bit of a haunt for those looking for 'girls, girls, girls' (with gaudy posters and neons) and the clubs get very hot and really, really busy. Music is pulsing and drinks are flowing - you will either love it or hate it.
Riu Palace Las Americas - Worth The Money
The Riu Palace Las Americas in Cancun Mexico is officialy a 5 star hotel and I personally felt that the 5 stars were well deserved.
A star can get 5 stars sometimes by default - for example for having 24 hour service and sufficient elevators but the Riu Palace Las Americas has them because it is a classy hotel - it has pleasing architecture and the interiors, both public and private are well designed and aesthetically pleasing.
The food is good, the drinking plentiful (if desired) and the staff from the concierge to the cleaners understand everything there is to know about customer service. They cannot do enough for their guests and are very friendly as well.
The Riu Palace Las Americas has guests from all over the world; during my visit the hotel had guests from the UK, USA, Mexico and other South American countries, Russia, Latvia, Ireland, Canada, Germany, France and elsewhere. This gives it a pleasing cosmopolitan air.
The Riu Palace Las Americas has several sister hotels in the area, the Riu Cancun, Riu Caribe and Riu Penninsula amongst them. All are quite different and all are available for use by any Riu guest. This is a distinct plus and allows guests to enjoy entertainment at one of the hotels in the second week of their holiday if they fancy a change.
I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough - our stay was wonderful, thanks to all of the staff at Riu Palace Las Americas.
I hope you find this review useful and get an opportunity to visit.
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