Ever since the renovations were completed several months ago at Riu Palace Las Americas I have been chomping at the bit to go back and check out what had been added, painted, replaced, removed, and relocated–I wanted to see whether the beautiful resort I had visited several years ago was still basically the same or in what ways it was now different. Since I had seen the transformations done to Riu Cancun, Riu Playacar, Riu Mexico, and Riu Yucatan, I had some initial trepidation that my beautiful Las Americas with its Mediterranean charm had perhaps turned into a modern day glitzy Vegas palace.
It turns out my fears were unfounded. The resort is still just as beautiful as the day I initially walked through its doors in July 2015.
(Lobby Post Renovation)
Refreshed with some paint and new furniture, but still like home. There have been other additions to the lobby including a new coffee and snack bar with its own separate seating area (Capuchino), a new 24-hr. lounge with drinks, food, and computer access (Lounge 24), and a new look to the check-in desk with its lovely light fixtures, new artwork, and different lighting behind the upper scrollwork design.
The service has not changed either. Upon arrival at the resort I was met by a friendly staff member who took my bags, escorted me to the front desk, gave me a glass of something fizzy (it tasted like raspberries–yummy!), and waited for me to go through the check-in process. Although I had arrived prior to official check-in time, my room was ready and off I went to settle into my Jr. Suite–I couldn’t wait until I saw my ocean view.
Score!! I took a stroll around the room to see what looked different–definitely the bathroom shower area was altered and in a positive way; I always had difficulty stepping over that high tub, so I much prefer the new shower-only.
After unpacking and changing, my next stop was the activities pool with the swim-up bar. As I walked outdoors I noticed the quiet pool with its Grecian-like statues, double loungers, and infinity edge looked much as I remembered it; I turned in my towel card at the towel hut and walked over to the activities pool with towel in hand. I saw some minor changes along the way such as new overhead slider shades instead of the typical shade umbrellas in some lounger areas, but the rest was there–the separate poolside bar, the in-pool tiled loungers and Jacuzzi, the swim-up bar, the infinity edge–all still there.
It was busy at the activities pool, but then again it was mid-afternoon which is prime time for poolside games, water volleyball, and of course, a libation (or two) at the swim-up bar.
Poolside music was a mixture of Pitbull, Drake, older top 40 hits, and some Latin beats. During the morning hours on another day of my visit the playlist actually included “Born to be Wild” with other older American hard rock hits, so the variety is there. Something different which did occur this visit was the addition of live poolside music once a week which was a nice change from primarily hearing American pre-recorded tunes. Pool games were fun, particularly the surfboard challenge which tested one’s ability to jump, turn, and balance–all while under the influence.
Another big change is the addition of a third infinity pool. Gone is the hot water Jacuzzi on the west side of the resort; instead, there is a small, circular pool with a great ocean view and lots of loungers and overhead slider shades nearby.
Beach time was fun as well with the surprise of shade umbrellas–kudos to Riu for adding them since most guests don’t like to sizzle following an afternoon at the beach. The water was warm enough to swim in and there was no need to wear water shoes. While snorkeling is not ideal at this location, one can always see the occasional fish while swimming; snorkel trips are available to book at the excursion desks by the theater.
When it’s time for a meal check out Riu Palace Las Americas’ five restaurants–a fabulous buffet with live cooking stations, an Amuse-Bouche table, chocolate fountains at dinnertime, as well as four a la cartes including Japanese, Mexican, steakhouse, and fusion restaurants. Reservations are no longer required at the a la cartes, which is a big help since I don’t really want to waste vacation time waiting in lines. Those looking for hearty lunches will find an excellent buffet setup as well as a poolside BBQ served several days per week. The frequency of the BBQ has been increased since my last visit but the quality has stayed the same–besides burgers there were side dishes, salads, chicken, and paella–all of which were very tasty. I love being able to stay in my swimsuit by the pool while I enjoy a good lunch, and this resort continues to offer that amenity to its guests. The only item I did not really enjoy at mealtimes and at various bars was the house white wine–perhaps Riu can look at alternatives in order to improve this particular resort experience. On the other hand, the bars did have my favorite rum, Bacardi Anejo, which can be difficult to find at some resorts.
Looking for some entertainment at night? The theater has been totally redone–it is all open-air and configured in a different way with the stage facing the beach while La Terraza Bar has been expanded and moved inside the theater area.
The shows are quite good and are performed by professional dancers and entertainers–no more having the activities team put on a show for the guests. There was also a beach fire show, new this visit as well, complete with a DJ and bar setup.
If you are still looking for more nightlife, Riu Palace Las Americas is about a 10-minute walk to the nightclubs (Coco Bongo, Mandala, The City, and others). Following the evening resort shows, there is an activity staff member who escorts guests over to the “club of the evening” for VIP treatment (the staff will announce the name of the club during the day at the activities pool). If you’re not in the mood to walk that far or don’t want to spend money on club entrance fees or extra drinks, just go next door to the Riu Cancun and spend some time at the Pacha disco. Riu Palace Las Americas guests are free to enjoy Riu Cancun’s amenities including its disco as well as its pools, bars, and restaurants during the day. Resort guests are also free to visit the Riu Caribe and Riu Palace Peninsula which are located several miles west of the resort; they can be reached by taking the inexpensive public bus which only costs $1 per person per way. Bus stops are conveniently located between the Las Americas and Riu Cancun as well as a short stroll west towards Dreams Sands resort. Shoppers will appreciate the convenience of Plaza Caracol which is just across the street, while guests who have forgotten anything will want to visit the Chedraui Selecto which is also across the street adjacent to Plaza Caracol.
I love this resort; as a matter of fact, Riu is one of my favorite all-inclusive resort chains in Cancun and the Riviera Maya because I get a lot of “bang for my vacation buck”. While you don’t get waited on hand and foot, Riu Palace Las Americas is a beautiful gem with an excellent location in the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Would I return? This is already my second visit, and hopefully I will visit again in the near future. Take a moment or two and enjoy the photo gallery below–just click on any of the thumbnails to get a larger view of the picture.
(The comments in this review are those of the author/reviewer. While a Riu media representative did authorize a complimentary upgrade from Riu Cancun to Riu Palace Las Americas for this stay, the comments made in this review are solely my own).
Location: 25 minutes north of the airport.
Telephone: 52-998-891-4300 (Mexico), 1-888-748-4990 (Riu toll-free number)