Located across the street from the Hotel Riu Palace Mexico in the gated area of Playacar is the ClubHotel Riu Tequila. Being landlocked there is no real onsite beach (just a small artificial beach area for sand volleyball), but it’s only a three minute shuttle ride from Tequila’s lobby to Playacar beach. Shuttles run between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon and then again from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Guests can also walk to and from the beach in less than ten minutes along the same pathway taken by the shuttles; it is well-shaded with numerous benches and located between the grounds of Riu Palace Mexico and the Riu Yucatan. Those staying at ClubHotel Riu Tequila are free to use all amenities at the Yucatan–this means access to several pools, a swim-up bar, restaurants, and loungers throughout the day. Those wanting a change of location can walk north to Hotel Riu Playacar and enjoy their daytime amenities as well. Playacar beach is one of the best in the Riviera Maya with its soft white sand, gradual ocean entry, and brilliant turquoise water which beckons swimmers. There is plenty of natural shade and loungers on the beach which allows guests the luxury of sleeping in instead of awakening early in order to “reserve” a spot here.
Perhaps the Tequila’s best feature (besides access to a great beach) is its representation of Mexican Colonial architecture and design. The property’s welcoming archway with its tower bell and hacienda colors of white, burnt orange, and contrasting blue spires and cupola is only a small hint at what lies beyond. The open-air lobby is very charming with its wrought iron chandeliers, lovely painted ceiling, and grand arches leading to a central courtyard complete with a large fountain. Comfortable couches and chairs are available, while sidelined tables and chairs are typically reserved for tour company representatives and those who wish to have a drink in the shade. Although there is no official lobby bar, the El Kiosko bar right outside the central courtyard serves that purpose. Guests wanting to use the internet will find free lobby WiFi for a total of 90-min. per day.
The grounds at ClubHotel Riu Tequila are lush with mature landscaping and native wildlife including coatis, iguanas, agoutis, and the occasional monkey. Some say the prolific coatis now rule the grounds of the Tequila–not feeding them along with the immediate disposal of trash, food, and drink may help to keep them at a distance. Mayan sculptures and art pieces adorn the grounds, while guests can feel free to wander along well-marked pathways around a central pool area. This resort has 35 two-story guest room buildings surrounding the two pools and the very large Lupita restaurant and snack bar with its distinctive thatched palapa roof. Since the Lupita restaurant is the only thing which separates the two pools, guests can easily move from one section to another. Both pools have built-in tiled loungers, while the activity side includes a gradual entry. The other pool section has the swim-up bar, Jacuzzi, and small waterfall.
Guest rooms of the Riu Tequila are functional and need updating. Curtained archways lead to bathrooms with step-in shower and separate toilet area, and two beds pushed together use one headboard. All rooms have balconies, but since there is no beach or ocean in the immediate vicinity, guests have their choice of jungle, pool, or golf course views. Room décor is done with browns and creams using dark wood furniture with tile floors. Top floor rooms have higher ceilings.
The ClubHotel Riu Tequila lacks some onsite amenities–there is no gym or spa–but guests are allowed to use these amenities over at Riu Yucatan. There is a disco onsite, and in the evening it sees its fair share of other Riu resort guests. Those wanting a change of pace can take a short taxi ride into Playa del Carmen for an active nightlife scene; it’s only a leisurely 30 to 40-min. walk into town via beach or sidewalk for daytime shopping. A nearby local strip mall, Plaza Playacar, offers souvenirs and clothing for those who don’t want to go all the way into Playa del Carmen–a local Starbucks at the strip mall enables guests to not only get their caffeine fix, but to upload photos and text family and friends for free.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Stay at one play at three, Mexican Colonial architectural style, access to beach
Con: Not on the beach, rooms need updating, lack of A/C in many public areas, limited free WiFi
Best Suited For: Budget-minded couples or families, those who don’t mind not being located right on the beach, those who like Old World Mexican architecture and charm
No. of Rooms: 664
Room Amenities: Two dbl beds pushed together against one large headboard, A/C, balcony/terrace, mini-bar, liquor dispenser, digital safe, flat screen TV, small table and chairs, ceiling fan, bureau, telephone, iron/ironing board, radio alarm clock, hair dryer, shower, and toiletries. There is no room service, complimentary room WiFi, or in-room coffee maker. While the bathroom entrance is curtained off from the rest of the room, toilets have their own private door. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Dbl/Standard Room: All above amenities included.
- Jr. Suite: Jr. Suites also include a living room area with sofa and armchair, coffee table, tub/shower combo, and bidet.
- NOTE: There are no elevators at this resort. Also, if you want more privacy request a room away from the main walkway.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Two pools (one on either side of the Lupita restaurant, one with swim-up bar), in-pool Jacuzzi, spa and fitness center over at Riu Yucatan, non-motorized and motorized water sports at the Riu Yucatan, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), playground, theater (no A/C), sports bar with air hockey and pool tables, disco, 90-min. of complimentary lobby WiFi per day, use of resort computers for a fee, complimentary beach shuttle, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, car and scooter rental, ATM. Guests have daytime exchange privileges at the Riu Playacar and Riu Yucatan.
Restaurants/Bars: There is one buffet restaurant (Jalisco) and three a la cartes including Asian (Bamboo–no teppanyaki show tables), Mexican (Beach Club over at the Yucatan–no A/C), and steakhouse (Lupita–no A/C). At this time, the Mexican a la carte is the only one which requires reservations. A luncheon poolside buffet is available at the Lupita restaurant, while late night munchies can be satisfied at the sports bar with hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Guests are also allowed to have lunch at the Riu Playacar or the Riu Yucatan. There are six bars including the courtyard bar, theater bar, disco bar, sports bar, pool bar, and swim-up bar. Additional bars are available at the Riu Playacar and Riu Yucatan (see separate resort listings).
Entertainment: The theater hosts nightly shows, live music occurs several nights per week including lobby entertainment, there is a “casino night”, disco, and 24-hr. sports bar for guests’ enjoyment.