by Steve Jermanok
One of the greatest success stories in tourism was the creation of Cancun. In 1974, a team of Mexican government computer analysts picked this long sliver of land on the Atlantic shoreline as the country’s next Acapulco. The powdery white sands and turquoise waters, separated from the mainland by a lagoon were ripe for development. Sheraton, Hilton, and Marriott swiftly built their hotels, soon joined by upscale Ritz-Carlton and the flashy Le Meridien, and Americans took to it wholeheartedly. Soon the all-inclusive resorts arrived, with the Spanish-owned Riu leading the way.
Riu has three hotels in the region, but we love the location of the Riu Cancun, perfectly set on the beach with an infinity pool that looks over the vast expanse of the Atlantic, yet near all the shopping and restaurants downtown. With a Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe, Outback Steak House, and a McDonald’s or shopping mall on every other block, the 14-mile-long Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) looks much more like Miami Beach than any Mexican village. Even the Cancun version of the daily Miami Herald can be found at the nearest gift shop. Indeed, Cancun today has almost everything an American would want to feel at home in a foreign country. Experienced travelers will find the experience canned and will probably want to head to a more authentic destination like the beach towns around Tulum. For the family who yearns to get a taste of the overseas experience without too much of the adventure, the pearly white sands are hard to beat.
Our Editor Loves
- Beachfront location, near restaurants and shopping
- Three great pools, including a large infinity pool
- Free scuba dive for kids 14 and older
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Riu Cancun has 569 standard rooms and 88 junior suites distributed throughout a 14-story main building and five-story annex. The rooms have air-conditioning and fans depending on how cool you want to be at night. The small refrigerator is filled with drinks and there are dispensers on top of it for a quick shot of tequila or rum.
Although the standard guestrooms have amazing views, the beds were right next to each other and seemed to take up the whole room.
The junior suite, with a sitting area and even larger balcony, is worth the splurge for some additional space. The spacious bathroom has two marble sinks, which is a treat when you have a family of four. There's a shower/tub combination with soap and shampoo.
The problem with a 14-story building is that elevators often take time to arrive, especially when everyone is heading down to dinner. It's often more advantageous to take the stairs, so think about that before you opt for the top floor. Connecting rooms are available.
by Saman S
my friend and I stayed in Riu Cancun, we had a really bad experience at this hotel, don't look at the star for this hotel, it's not even 2-star hotel
the fridge was disgusting with lots of Mold and Rusty as you can see at the picture. the pillow was super flat and not comfortable with lots of germs spot in the pillowcases and bedsheets
it wasn't any separate shower gel, lotion, shampoo and conditioner just one soap dispensers with 2 in 1 shampoo/shower gel (evidence enclosed). it was my first time, I saw something like this, it's like a public shower, I stayed in a different hotel, motel before, but never ever seen something like that.
also, no coffee maker machine in the room
when we complain about our room, the hotel supervisor said we can change your room to a bigger room, but here is a standard hotel so all the rooms had the same stuff.
no customer service at all.
most of the restaurant was only for dinning, and they were connected to the main restaurant which was International Buffet.
basically, not lost of options to eat, compared to other all inclusive hotel
food quality was okay, but pastries weren't great at all
nobody cleaned the beach, so it was lots of seaweed and rocks at the beach
I do not recommend this hotel to anyone, do not waste your money for this hotel.
I wish we search more before deciding to choose this hotel, we didn't enjoy our holiday at all
Just returned from honeymoon. The hotel is spotless and staff could not of done anymore to make our stay so welcoming. The staff were constantly cleaning around the hotel and making it gleaning. Sulerb
Pools and Beach
Hotel Riu Cancun has three swimming pools, plus a children's swimming pool, but by far our favorite was the infinity pool that gave us those amazing views of the water. To grab those coveted lounge chairs around the infinity pool, we had to throw down towels by 8:30 a.m. at the latest.
When not poking around the pool or being coaxed into playing a game of water volleyball or aerobics by the pool staff, the kids hit the beach and the assortment of ocean toys like sea kayaks and catamarans. Snorkeling is also available and if the kids are old enough (at least 14), they can do an introductory scuba dive.
Younger children enjoyed the small playground on property and, if mom and dad need some downtime, there's a supervised Mini Camp with counselors for children ages 4 to 12 years old. The staff here keep kids happy with the usual mix of sand, sea, art, dance, and game time. Another bonus, especially when the sun goes down and the humidity decreases, are the lit tennis courts.
Shows at night on the main stage were fun for the kids, with the usual assortment of song, dance, and comedy.
The hotel offers many tours that highlight the Yucatan Peninsula. A 30-minute boat ride from Cancun leaves you at El Garrafon National Park on Isla Mujeras. Some tours feature a meal and open bar, so be sure to inquire. Once you hit the island, you can choose to beach and snorkel, swim with the dolphins, try the zipline, go for a bike ride, or simply lie in a hammock with a good thick book. Another tour brings you to the family-favorite, Xcaret, an ecology theme park situated about five miles south of Playa del Carmen. A nature preserve, Xcaret features a lagoon, an underground river where you can bob like a cork though caves and inlets, dolphins you can swim with, even pony rides.
For an all-inclusive, the main restaurant had a better than average buffet. Breakfast was always top-notch, with fresh fruit, juices, baked bread, omelets just the way you like them, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, and pastries. Favorite kids fare at lunch consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, and pasta with a Bolognese sauce. There's a good selection of Mexican fare at night, from chicken with sweet mole sauce to grilled tilapia to tacos. The buffet also mixed in other special nights that have an Asian, Italian, Spanish, and Caribbean theme.
Be sure to reserve the three specialty restaurants upon your arrival or they might be booked on the nights you request them. They include Japanese, Brazilian, and a Steakhouse. We liked the large selection of meats at the Brazilian restaurant. The sushi at the Japanese restaurant was fresh, but for some reason they cooked all the fish. The skewers of chicken teriyaki were also tasty.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The Riu resorts are known for their service and the Riu Cancun won't disappoint. Maid service leaves each room spotless, which is not always easy.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort.
There's also a fitness area, but who can pass up the soccer games and volleyball on the beach when you can work out in a gym any time?
The Art of Smart Timing
Once April hits, the temperature and humidity rises while the prices are reduced. Watch out for hurricane season in Cancun, normally from late June through October.
Cancun International Airport is about 30 minutes away from this resort.
The resort is walkable.
For Mom and Dad
The bartenders serving Dos Equis on draft and other assorted goodies worked the demanding clientele effortlessly. We loved heading to the martini bar before dinner, right behind the lobby, for their selection of specialty drinks.