Too big, too loud, too crowded -- but the food is good! Posted Jun 7, 2011
Riu Vallarta has several things to recommend it, but I wouldn't stay there again. Pros: We upgraded to a Jr Suite since we had our 5 year old grandson with us. It was a lovely room with jacuzzi tub and separate seating area with pull out loveseat on which the youngster slept just fine. It's a lovely beach with quite a depth to the shallow waters which gave our little one an awesome experience for his first time at the beach. The food in the buffet was, in our opinion, quite good with a generous variety. The only specialty restaurant we tried was the steak house and that was also quite good. Cons: It's really hard to get to that good food with the rude crush of people attacking the buffet. The first weekend we were there the hotel was full and the competition at the buffet was... insane! This is only partly due to the bad manners of other guests -- the buffet could be much better organized on the part of the hotel to alleviate this problem. Everything is so spread out that you spend a lot of time walking from one place to the other -- for example, from the beach to the bathroom. Quite a trek! I object to the term "kids pool". It should be called a teen pool since the depth throughout is 4.75 feet -- too deep for my 5 year old's comfort. The music for *both* pools is blasted from the kid's pool area so you'd better hope your kid isn't crying out for you -- you'll never be able to hear it over the din. Also, the hotel had just installed its first ATM as a result of some new regulation prohibiting the exchange of USD for pesos -- it wasn't working for the entire week we were there. The guys at the front desk told us to walk over to the Riu Jalisco and use their ATM -- that one has never worked either. We ended up taking a cab to the MegaStore to get cash from a bank ATM. Overall, for my tastes, Riu Vallarta is too big, too crowded, too loud and too far away (both distances within the hotel and a long ride to Puerto Vallarta -- not such a big deal since the malecon is gone, gone, gone until October).