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Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

Los Angeles
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Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

Hello,

My boyfriend and I are heading to Cabo in a few weeks and we would appreciate some advice. We have booked a room at Riu Palace but we have recently read some reviews that are not so great. We noticed that the Riu Santa Fe is right next door to the Palace and is cheaper and we have been thinking about changing to that hotel. The recent reviews for the Santa Fe are pretty good. Basically, we are not sure of the difference between the Palace and Santa Fe and we would like advice from anyone who has been there and/or knows about the hotels.

We are 23 & 24 yrs. old and are looking for a fun and relaxing destination. We plan on eating and drinking a lot and hopefully enjoying some water sports and lying out by the beach/pool. Any advice on which hotel would be best for us would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Napa Valley, CA
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2,322 posts
12 reviews
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1. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

Hi UCLAgirl21. This caught my eye because my daughter is a freshman at UCLA! Also becuase I stayed at the Riu Palace in Nov.2007. I was with a group considerably older than you but there were plenty people there your age. The Sante Fe was just being completed while we were there. If I were you I would stick to the Palace. Unless someone corrects me, what I have heard is that if you are a guest of the Palace you can use all the facilities at the Santa Fe including pool, bar, and restaurants but that is does not work the other way. So staying at the Palace you have more options. Both resorts are big but the most of the Palace rooms would have at least a glimpse of the ocean. The Sante Fe is spread out and even has buildings behind the Palace so a room in those buildings would not be too desirable.

Many people that go to Cabo say don't do an AL because there are great restaurants in Cabo. I disagree. If you know you want to hang out by the pool and eat and drink a lot than this is a great way to go. You can still go into town to eat out a few times and you can go out to party. But it's nice to keep ordering beers or margaritas by the pool and not worry about the cost.

You should know that both of these hotels are about a 20 minutes walk down the beach to where it is swimmable as most of the beaches in Cabo are unsafe for swimming due to strong undertow (although one day the wind/currents had changed and I did swim in the ocean in front of the hotel). Further down the beach, in the main Medano Beach area, you can swim, hang out at really fun beach bar/restaurants and rent jet skis, etc. Most of this stuff is not at the beach at your resort but they do have an activity desk where you can arrange to rent stuff.

I hope someone you age that has been to the Santa Fe answers you questions. They could give you a better idea about the feel of each resort. But it did seem that the 20 somethings were having lots of fun. Good Luck, Kathi

Napa Valley, CA
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2,322 posts
12 reviews
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2. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

Just noticed...someone posted the question "Building Layout at Riu Santa Fe" on this forum today. One of the replies includes links that has ariel photos of the 2 resorts. You can clearly see that 90% of the Santa fe's buildings are behind the Palace.

Saco, Maine
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10 posts
34 reviews
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3. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

My wife and I, as well as a group of friends, stayed at the Santa Fe in October for 18 days. While, yes, the Santa Fe is right next door and cheaper, it is the rule of you get what you pay for. We (our entire group) truly enjoy the Santa Fe, there was enough variety and space that you could truly enjoy yourself depending upon your mood (i.e. the party pools versus the quiet pools versus the space for the families with kids.) The food was great, the staff truly went out of there way, and the property is big it wasn't overwhelming. If you just want to sit by the pools or on the beach, enjoy some refreshments, and relax then giving up the pampering (assumed) at the Palace might be an affordable alternative. I believe that is choice for you, and not based on our input. We all like to be pampered once in while.

thedovey is correct, if you stay at the Santa Fe, you can not go over to the Palace (even to look around). If you are staying at the Palace you can go over to the Santa Fe.

The Palace location between a good deal of the Santa Fe property and the beach was never an issue, other than the days Hurricane Norbert rolled through the area, the Palace provided a buffer from the winds that we could use the pools in the upper part of the property. The only difference you see in the buildings is the color the buildings are painted.

If you pm me, I can send you link to photos of the Santa Fe.

Either way you choose, relax and enjoy.

Branford...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta
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7,895 posts
17 reviews
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4. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

We booked the Riu Santa Fe last Easter and lucked out with a free upgrade to the Riu Palace due to overbooking during Spring Break.

Some slight differences between properties:

- Santa Fe only one building has ocean view rooms (this building also has an elevator, the others do not); more rooms at Palace are at least partial ocean view, lower levels garden/pool view.

- Santa Fe frequently overbooks oceanview rooms and shifts people to Palace when available

- Palace offers more dining options, plus you can eat at restaurants at Santa Fe; Buffet at Palace has better selection

- Palace top shelf liquor & better wine selection with dinner available by the bottle; Santa Fe no top shelf, red/white by the glass

- Both Palace pools are ocean front, Santa Fe one ocean front (crowded), one garden/courtyard

- Palace has Palapas/umbrellas on beach, Santa Fe does not; Palace beach area is much bigger

- Gym and Spa at Santa Fe is air-conditioned, newer and much nicer than the Palace

If you are willing to spend the extra bucks stay at the Palace and take advantage of facilities at both; if I was concerned about my budget I'd have no problem staying at the Santa Fe as we orignially planned, both properties were awesome... just not during Spring Break!

Los Angeles
2 posts
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5. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

Thanks for the responses everyone. The pictures I saw of the hotels and the information were really helpful!

I think we are just going to stick with our original plan and stay at the Palace. We really want to have an ocean view and I think all the extra amenities at the Palace will be really nice.

Thanks again for the input!!

san diego
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281 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

be careful with the choice of the RIU group. We stayed at the Palace in May '07, and had the worst vacation ever. We went with two other couples - all 27-30. Service was horrible, room was mediocer, food -i lost 5 pounds while I was there- aweful! We have been to many AI's and this was far the worst- and certainly not the cheapest. I have from co-workers who did a trip down to dreams, that it was awesome. hard to belive that it was, as my trip was complete end of the sprecturm.

check in was crazy. they told us to all share one room and have a group thing.. not my idea of a 1 yr anniversary trip with the wife and good friends. the waiters at the pool were "cat-calling" a few women chilling at the pool, and "perving" pretty crazy. i have never really experienced that from staff- and we were really still friendly and tipping. really no way to explain how bad it really was. check out my review on it, and only to save you or anyone else thinking about going to this place to think again.

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g152515-d503…

Branford...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta
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7,895 posts
17 reviews
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7. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

On a positive note, we stayed at the Palace last Easter during spring break and had an awesome vacation! The food, even at the buffets was the best of any AI we've stayed at; Dreams is also nice (esp no bracelets & no dinner reservations required) but also less options for meals. We look forward to going back next spring and staying at the Santa Fe as originally planned, just not during spring break...

Vancouver, Canada
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401 posts
33 reviews
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8. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

We were at the palace for a week earlier in November and the resort was breathtaking. There is a noticiable elegance about the palace that the Santa Fe does not have as well as a more condensed layout which can truly be appreciated after a few too many margaritas.

There was a wide variety of people at the Palace the week we were there - many honeymooners, lots of wedding parties (sometimes 3 or more each day Thurs, Fri, Sat) and then the normal blend of others...with the noticible exception of many children (I think there were maybe 10 I saw all week)The Santa fe had lots of families.

The food offers you many options but does become a little repetative. Book A La Cartes early. And while you certainly aren't offered top shelf liquor unless you order it specifically - it is certainly available and will flow freely for you.

The only thing I noticed is that tips need to be big to get any special service...tip $20.00 at the beginning of the eveing to the bartender and use the same one all night goes so much futher than $1 per drink which is expected. Also make a point of meeting your beverage clerk in your room - tip him and tell him exactly what you want and you are set for the week...we left a modest tip each day as well and never was there any space in the fridge for more cervesa and small water bottles...filled every day.

If you want to use the gym use Santa Fe's later in the day (first thing Palace is fine until it warms up - no AC)

My only caution is BEWARE of the ocean. It is not safe to swim in by the hotel and getting in the waves can mean you are pulled out - they are very strong and its difficult to get back into shore. You can be walking down by the shoreline and get soaked by a wave and pulled out into the water.

have a great time and have a shot of Don Julio from Carlos at the pool bar for me

9. Re: Riu Palace vs. Riu Santa Fe

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