Vacationers in the upper part of the “7” in the Hotel Zone can easily recognize the Riu Palace Peninsula with its rectangular center cut-out and sprawling 17-story exterior at its highest point.
Built in 2012, the Palace Peninsula is the newest of Cancun’s Riu resorts and boasts a total of seven restaurants, seven bars, five pools, a spa and fitness center, and adults-only amenities all on a beachfront location. There are several features which make this Riu Palace distinctive including the following:
- adults-only villas with a dedicated pool, restaurant, Bali beds, and beach area
- Thursday night seafood buffet including complimentary lobster tails
- daily poolside BBQ
- weekly beach party
- Mayan ruins onsite
- balcony Jacuzzi room category with unbeatable views while sitting in the Jacuzzi
- all rooms have an ocean view, some with ocean and lagoon views
- multiple pools including an activities pool, infinity pool with ocean view, swim-up bar pool, and easy access pool for young children or those with disabilities
- Riu Art program for ages 12+
- walking distance to Isla Mujeres ferry
- bus stop in close proximity with pedestrian crosswalk
While just the thought of all-you-can-eat lobster tails would be enough to entice immediate bookings for some, potential guests of the Palace Peninsula should be comfortable with contemporary décor and furnishings done primarily in purple, black, grey, and silver with splashes of blue, fuchsia, and coral thrown in as accents. The style, while more reminiscent of Vegas glitz, is predominant throughout the resort including guest rooms. In addition to the contemporary décor, potential guests need to consider whether an open-concept bathroom is acceptable given one’s traveling companions. While there are slight differences in floor plans depending on room category, Palace Peninsula bathroom areas are open to the rest of the room including the standard Jacuzzi tub and double vessel sinks; toilets have their own separate door while walk-in showers typically have a frosted glass door. Perfect for couples, but families or friends traveling together may have an issue with such a design.
Pools are in overabundance at the Palace Peninsula with built-in tiled loungers and in-pool tables, while surrounding sundecks include loungers, man-made overhead shade structures, scattered shade umbrellas, and Bali beds over at the adults-only villa pool.
The beach, while only a few steps from the villas and infinity pool, may be disappointing to some with its rocky outcroppings making ocean accessibility challenging (bring water shoes). While entering the water is not impossible here, just a short walk east will bring guests to a smaller yet much more ocean-accessible point of entry.
Better yet, keep walking east past the pier onto the Riu Caribe property next door and find large areas of beach where one can walk unfettered into the ocean to swim. Snorkeling is possible in all areas here, but offers better results by the pier. While at the Riu Caribe next door, don’t forget to check out the water sports available on the east end of the property or the very large beachfront pool with swim-up bar and lively daytime activities.
Guests shouldn’t ever go hungry at the resort with a fabulous buffet for all meals along with five a la carte restaurants. The Palace Peninsula is trying something a bit different with its a la carte reservations–only the steakhouse requires advance reservations at this time; hopefully, all Riu resorts will soon follow the all-inclusive trend of no reservations needed at any of its restaurants. Villa guests will enjoy the dedicated restaurant, Kulinarium, located conveniently near the villa guest room buildings.
While a fair number of families frequent this resort, the Kid’s Club is a small area which caters more towards younger children (ages 4-8). Older children and teens do not have a dedicated space, although the sports bar does have air hockey, foosball, and pool tables available for everyone to use.
Riu Palace Peninsula guests are free to visit any of the Riu properties in Cancun including the adjacent Riu Caribe, Riu Palace Las Americas, and Riu Cancun to enjoy their pools, beach areas, bars, and restaurants. Guests, however, are expected to return to their own resort for dinner.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Ocean view from rooms, multiple pools, adults-only sections, free WiFi
Con: Rocky stretch of beach, open-concept bathroom
Best Suited For: Families with children ages 4-8 if you want to utilize the Kid’s Club, couples of all ages
No. of Rooms: 562
Pool Closure: 7 p.m.
Room Amenities: All 562 rooms include a king or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, table and two chairs, small loveseat or sofa/sofa bed, bureau, coffee table, mini-bar, liquor dispenser, digital safe, flat screen TV, coffee maker, ceiling fan, radio alarm clock, telephone, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, dbl vessel sinks, in-room Jacuzzi tub, separate shower with rainforest showerhead, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, and free WiFi. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds with separate sitting area. Typically located on lower floors.
- Jr. Suite Ocean View: King or two dbl beds with separate sitting area. Ocean view guaranteed.
- Jr. Suite Superior Ocean View: King or two dbl beds with separate sitting area. Located on higher floors.
- Ocean View Suite with Jacuzzi: King bed, separate sitting area with swivel flat screen TV and two armchairs, robes and slippers, large balcony with Jacuzzi, two chairs and small table.
- NOTE: If interested in the balcony Jacuzzi Suite, make sure to book with plenty of advance notice since this is a highly desirable room category and tends to sell out quickly. Also, balcony Jacuzzi Suites on the west side of the property have sunset views over the lagoon and a bit more privacy.
(Adults-Only Villas) All villas come with a balcony/terrace Jacuzzi, robes and slippers, and private wait service to the adults-only pool area.
- Villa Jr. Suite Jacuzzi: King bed with separate sitting area; the interior of these rooms is basically the same as the Jr. Suites within the main building. These rooms are typically located in the two villa buildings behind the ocean view villa buildings.
- Villa Jr. Suite Jacuzzi Ocean View: King bed with separate sitting area; the interior of these rooms is basically the same as the Jr. Suites within the main building. These rooms are located in the beach-facing buildings.
- Villa Suite Jacuzzi: King bed, separate sitting area with sofa and swivel flat screen TV. Ocean view.
- NOTE: Villa buildings are three floors without elevators. Take note that an ocean view from the villas constitutes a view through the coconut palm grove on the beach making it a partial ocean view.
For those wanting a bit more help in choosing a room category, try checking out this link to see the differences between them.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Five pools (swim-up bar, infinity, activities, easy access, and adults-only villa pool), spa including fish pedicure, beauty salon, fitness center, complimentary access to the sauna and hot/cold Jacuzzis to guests 18+, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), very small kids pool, non-motorized water sports (head over to the Caribe next door for wave runners), several stages for live shows, sports bar with game tables, pool and beach wait service, Riu Art workshops several times a week age 12+, onsite Mayan ruins, gift shop, jewelry shop, photo shop, concierge, tour desk, car rental, ATM. Guests also have access to Riu Caribe, Riu Cancun, and Riu Palace Las Americas with the exception of dinner at these resorts.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet restaurant (Las Olas–check out the unlimited lobster tails on Thursday evenings), and five a la cartes including Italian (Venecia, also open for breakfast), Japanese (Kabuki), Mexican (Tamales), gourmet fusion (Krystal), and steakhouse (Isla Mujeres, also has lunch options). Reservations are required at the steakhouse for dinner. Only villa guests have access to Kulinarium restaurant. There is also a wonderful cappuccino bar in the lobby which serves pastries and ice cream, the sports bar which offers snacks and light fare 24-hrs. a day, and the daily poolside BBQ. Bars include the lobby bar, swim-up bar, pool bar, beach bar, a couple of bars by the theater area, and the sports bar which is open 24-hrs. a day. Villa guests also have a self-serve bar cart located by the private pool.
Entertainment: Live music in the lobby, nightly shows in the open-air theater, weekly beach party, and game tables in the sports bar. Karaoke is also offered in the sports bar.