Sign Up for Our Monthly Mexico Newsletter
Through A long corridor, i was whisked away from the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas’ lobby. The wheels of my rolling suitcase clacked on the neatly maintained floor, which took me to my oceanview room. It was a long walk, but well worth the effort.
My room featured tasteful design with all the traditional amenities I would expect of a quality resort including a flat-screen television, a balcony with a picturesque view of boats lazing on the water and a fully loaded minibar with a variety of sodas, water and alcoholic beverages.
It was not my first all-inclusive experience at Riu. The brand has more than 100 properties in 16 different countries worldwide. It was, however, my first visit to the twin Riu properties that sit side by side in Los Cabos. Together, they make up more than 1,500 rooms. Palace Cabo San Lucas has 642 rooms and skews to the higher-end of Riu resorts, while the five-star Riu Santa Fe features 902 rooms and caters more toward families and groups. Both properties have available conference rooms, pools and lots of food.
Beyond the rooms, Riu offers its guests a rich amount of options. Nightly themed shows include “Grease,” “Mamma Mia” and inspired performances from the best music of Michael Jackson, Broadway, Las Vegas and more. Pacha, Riu’s dance club, vibrates from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly.
During the day, Riu offers activities such as organized games of beach volleyball and dance lessons, which will help burn off all the calories from Riu’s five on-site restaurants.
Savvy agents will remind clients to make dining reservations in advance. Three of Riu Palace’s five restaurants, Krystal (fusion gourmet dining in Palace Cabo), The Mexican and The Steak House, require reservations, though they are all under the all-inclusive umbrella. The Main Buffet and The Japanese restaurant welcome walk-ins. Clients can also opt for complimentary 24-hour room service.
While Riu can easily be seen as a destination unto itself, the hotel is about a $6 taxi ride to downtown Cabo San Lucas, and also offers special excursions, including whale watching, swimming with whale sharks and tours to nearby La Paz, among other popular tours.
Riu Palace customers can use Riu Santa Fe amenities freely, barring the a la carte restaurants, but the reverse is not true. Winter prices for Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas start at $159, while Riu Santa Fe rates begin at $102 per night.
Agents interested in Riu should visit RiuAgents.com. Rui Agents provides information on three new sales platforms. Riu offers an xml engine, which connects agent sales systems to Riu, a B-2-B platform for real-time hotel reservations, and a 24/7 call center (888-784-4990) for help with reservations and questions. The company also offers agents a loyalty program (Riu Partner Club) with participating agents receiving points toward free night stays at Riu resorts or agent pricing.
Riu Hotels & Resortswww.riu.com
Getting There:Agents with clients in the San Diego area should be aware of Spirits Airlines’ new daily flights (AB 319) from San Diego International, which lands in the new Los Cabos International Terminal, making the flight one of the shortest international flights for Southern California travelers. Spirit is one of the least expensive ticket fares available. However, as it is a budget carrier, travelers can expect to pay an additional $50 per person for additional baggage and food charges — yes, even for water.
While Spirit Airlines does not offer agents traditional commission programs, it has options for agents. Spirit’s Name Your Own Commission program offers agents the ability to mark up air, hotel and car rental packages. Travel pros must have an account with the Spirit travel agent portal found at the bottom of the Spirit Airlines website. www.spirit.com