Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Located right along the beautiful, pristine beaches of Playacar and a short drive to downtown Playa del Carmen
Riu Palace Riviera Maya is part of the Riu group and shares its location with four other Riu properties. It's in a gated community, but right across the street is a shopping mall with a Starbucks -- a convenience to many guests.
Named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the patron saint of Cancun), Playa del Carmen is a beautiful, charming resort town and the third largest city in Quintana Roo. Located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula about 70 km south of Cancun and 20 km west of Cozumel, it's right in the center of the Mayan Riviera and is quickly becoming one of the most hip vacation spots in the area (though it’s said to be quieter than Cancun). It used to be the home of the Mayans and after that a small fishing village, but now Playa del Carmen -- or "Playa" as the locals call it -- is full of exciting nightclubs, popular restaurants, cute boutiques, and resort hotels that sit lovely white sandy beaches. Because many of the businesses are European-run, the rest of the town retains a hint of European flair. The main tourist thoroughfare of Playa is the cobblestone-lined, pedestrian street Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), but there are plenty of fun outdoor activities for visitors, too, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and sailing. The offshore reef is part of the second largest reef system in the world, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
The 400-room, all-inclusive Riu Palace Riviera Maya sits right on the soft, sugar-white beach of Playa del Carmen’s Playacar. Surrounded by towering palm trees and expertly groomed greenery, the property is like luxurious tropical eye candy. Architecturally speaking, the hotel puts a stylish spin on the charming, traditional Mexican estate, resulting in an opulent-meets-old-world ambiance. The lobby -- decked out in marble floors and huge chandeliers-- also has an impressive rotunda and radiant glass-stained ceiling panes. The rooms got a refresh in 2012, so they too live up to the hype. There is a good variety of food options (like the Mexican El Porche or the poolside bar), plus a small spa and fitness center. But the pool is probably the highlight here -- it's expansive. As far as the Riu properties go, this one looks like all the others.