Not every all-inclusive resort can dazzle clients with glasses
of bubbly and fresh-squeezed orange juice for breakfast, elegant
junior suites and a drop-dead gorgeous lobby with marble floors.
But then there is only one Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas the latest
jewel in the crown of all-inclusive resorts built and operated by
Spanish chain Riu Hotels and Resorts.
Enviably nestled on a golden stretch of Medano Beach less than
three miles from Cabo town, the Riu is the newest resort to open in
this popular Mexican playground, welcoming its first guests in
Architecturally, the resort is stunning. A vision in butter yellow,
it rises from the desert like a Moorish castle with roof domes and
turrets. The opulent and spacious La Ventana lobby bar overlooks
two swimming pools, one a quiet area and the other more lively,
with music for pool aerobics and activities. Bougainvillaea and
palm trees soften the landscape.
Tossing our bags on the king bed of our “junior suite” (the
standard room configuration), I was also delighted with the
pleasing decor of our room. White-washed walls serve as a serene
backdrop for dark wood cupboards and furniture, and tile floors
have marble borders. The bed looks out over a small sunken lounge
area with double sofabed, TV and coffee table. Beyond that, sliding
glass doors open onto a balcony with an ornate metal railing. The
bathroom, with combined tub and shower, features a rose-colored
My husband was more delighted with the complimentary mini-bar, and
the signature Riu liquor dispensers above the bar with Bacardi rum,
Smirnoff vodka and other hard liquors all refilled every second
Of course, as with most new properties, there are opening glitches,
which the Riu’s Director General Jose Luis Garcia was the first to
admit need to be sorted out.
“We’re a victim of our own success,” he laughed, as he explained
that the resort has been operating at virtually 100 percent
occupancy since it opened.
Guests’ main complaint which I, as the first journalist to visit
the Riu, had occasion to witness is with the service. Staff, who
haven’t had the time to become fully trained in the hands-on
setting, are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of guests. The
Riu is the largest hotel in the area, and with 642 rooms, it’s
twice as large as any other hotel.
Still, despite this, the staff are extremely friendly and eager to
please. And by early spring, Garcia expects the Riu to be operating
at a top-notch standard equal to the Palace brand.
For the most part, we found the food at the hotel to be very good.
If we came down for breakfast after 9:30 a.m., we could snag a
table on the porch, and avoid the earlier longish lines for
made-to-order omelettes. But we were inevitably too late for the
hot Mexican doughnuts.
For lunch, our favorite venue was the oceanfront Italian
restaurant, which at night operates as the Mexican specialty
restaurant. In addition to the Mexican and Japanese restaurants,
there’s also a steakhouse and “gourmet” dining room. Dinner
reservations must be made in the morning for either a 7 or 9 p.m.
After dinner, Vegas-style entertainers perform in the open-air
theater. But a bigger hit is the “kids’ disco” each evening from 8
to 9 p.m., children and parents pack the dance floor and enjoy the
sodas and ice cream served.
With its combination of luxury and all-inclusive convenience, the
Riu Palace seems destined to become a client favorite.
To sweeten the deal, Riu’s Partner Club nets you free nights for
bookings made. Your client benefits too they receive a welcome gift
on your behalf upon arrival at the hotel. Points are awarded per
client booked per night. www.riu.com
Riu Palace Cabo
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Hits: The self-serve fountain of hot chocolate sauce in
the evening buffet for dipping fresh fruit, waiter-served
cappuccinos, white tablecloths at all meals and super-clean rooms.
Misses: Slow check-in, reception assistance and service at
Be Aware: “Seventy percent of rooms have an excellent ocean view,”
according to Constantino, but the rest are limited or have views of
the Sea of Cortez. When booking, make sure to request a full
ocean-view room. Also advise clients to watch the steps at night
into the sunken lounge area of their room. Plugging In: Wireless
Internet service is available in the lobby bar.
Clientele: Mostly North American honeymooners and couples aged
20-60. While families are welcome, and a small supervised kids’
club offers daily crafts for ages 4-12, the hotel is geared to
adults. Rates: Unlimited meals and bar drinks are included in the
$149 per person price for junior suite accommodation. Commission:
Commission is paid by the wholesale tour operator when you book an
air/land package. From the West: Southwest Airlines, Funjet and
AeroMexico offer packages.