HOTEL REVIEW: Riu Palace Peninsula, an All-Inclusive Cancun Resort –


Published on August 7th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut


HOTEL REVIEW: Riu Palace Peninsula, an All-Inclusive Cancun Resort

During my recent visit to Cancun, I stayed at the brand-new Riu Palace Peninsula, an all-inclusive Mexico hotel that opened in May 2012. Here’s my take on the experience. 

The lobby at the Riu Palace Peninsula in Cancun. 

THE STYLE: Bold design and cheery colors are hallmarks of this property, which represents the new style of Riu’s Palace and Plaza properties (check out my review of the Riu hotel in Panama here). The dramatic lobby has high ceilings and eye-catching design elements — think lushly upholstered, oversized purple seating, dramatic lighting, large wall sculptures and colorful, artsy tile accents. A bowl of apples graced the check-in desk and a formally dressed waiter presented us with welcome fruit drinks as we arrived.  

The amply sized junior suite at the Riu Palace Peninsula. 

THE ROOMS: We stayed in a junior suite, an ample space with a sitting area, balcony overlooking the magnificent Caribbean sea and an open-style bathroom that’s perfect for couples, with dual sinks, a large walk-in shower and a Jacuzzi bathtub centrally located near the center of the room. The décor is mostly white, with purple accent pillows and couch cushions in the sitting area. The room has a free safe deposit box. We chose the most economical WiFi connection rate, which was U.S.$30 for three days. All 562 guest rooms are equipped with hair dryer, mini-bar, liquor dispenser, coffee maker, radio alarm clock, iron and ironing table and either a balcony or terrace. Vacationers looking for more space and amenities can opt for the VIP villa section, where the Jacuzzi junior suites and Jacuzzi suites come with free WiFi, bathrobes, king-size bed and balcony or terrace with — you guessed it — a private Jacuzzi. 

Kabuki is one of the a-la-carte restaurants at the Riu Palace Peninsula hotel in Cancun.

THE AMENITIES: An all-inclusive resort, the Riu Palace Peninsula has four large swimming pools, one of which has a swim-up bar (at the Trinidad bar). The variety of pools made it easy to always find one with the ambiance that we craved. Lounge chairs — as well as outdoor spa treatment gazebos — make it easy to enjoy the Caribbean breezes along the beach. 

One of the selling points for the Riu Palace Peninsula is the diversity of dining options. In addition to buffets, there are multiple a-la-carte venues, each with attractive contemporary decor, that serve cuisine including Italian, Japanese and international fusion dishes. I was an especially big fan of the two chocolate fountains — one with milk chocolate, the other white — that was featured in one dinner buffet venue. 

This is the first Riu property in the Americas to offer the Riu Art program (it’s already offered at some of their hotels across the Atlantic), which allows guests to take free art classes and take home their own work (the only charge is for the canvas). The gym is amply sized and the Renova Spa offers a variety of services and treatments for an additional charge; the indoor Jacuzzi room is especially pleasant. 

In the evening, live entertainment takes place on a large stage (we saw a series of lip-synching celebrity look-alikes). Travelers with children can make use of the RiuLand children’s program, which offers a variety of activities. 

The lobby bar and café is a good place for snacks, drinks and coffee, and the 24-hour Sports Bar is ideal not only for drinks and games, but for the snacks (including sandwiches and hot dogs), which can be a lifesaver if you’re heading out very early in the morning on day tours (as we did one day to swim with the whale sharks). There is no meeting space at the hotel; the focus is strictly on rest, relaxation and fun. 

Iconic architecture and lots of pools are key parts of the Riu Palace Peninsula in Cancun. 

BEST FOR: Couples, young people, families and vacationers looking for an all-inclusive product with a diverse array of dining options and lots of pool areas in which to relax. 

MORE NEWS FROM RIU: Riu Hotels is wrapping up renovation on its Riu Palace Macao, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Following an investment of $14 million, the hotel reopened in August with new decor, new restaurants and services. The property is Riu’s first adults-only hotel in the Americas. 

TRAVEL DEALS: 5% Discount on Bookings with Riu Hotels & Resorts

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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