I’m excited to share my new travel obsession: all-inclusive resorts! This past summer, my parents and I were looking for an all-inclusive beach destination. After some research, we found super cheap flights to Cabo San Lucas, which had sat patiently on my bucket list.
The idea was: if we’re gonna do all-inclusive, we’ve gotta do it right! We need a fabulous hotel with a glorious pool and all-you-can-drink premium cocktails! If we’re paying for all-inclusive, we want to feel like we never have to leave the resort. We found our match at RIU Palace, a 5 star all-inclusive resort right on the beach.
RIU Palace Hotel Review
What I Like
RIU Palace is all about convenience! This resort is the real kind of all-inclusive: all food, snacks, beverages, and gratuities. I’d like to highlight the premium and imported beverages since some other resorts only include domestic. The main restaurant, El Medano, is a buffet that’s open round-the-clock for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I loved the greeters at the door offering champagne and mimosas before taking our seat—a luxurious experience. The selection of food items and the quality was superb! You could even fill up a plate of food and take it back to the room. An added bonus is the 24 hour service: room service is available 24 hours a day, free of charge, plus the lobby bar is open 24 hours.
Another bonus: guests can take advantage of The Exchange Privileges Program, allowing use of the 5 swimming pools, the beach area, all 5 restaurants and 7 bars at the next door property Riu Santa Fe.
RIU Palace offers several free amenities such as use of the gym and beach lounge chairs, free parking, and free WiFi (a useful perk for any international traveler).
Because I planned this trip so last-minute, I didn’t have time to research local attractions. It was a relief to find that the hotel brings in representatives from local tour companies to help book fun activities. Just another example of the convenience that RIU Palace offers!
When choosing an all-inclusive resort, the one amenity that excites me the most is a swim-up bar! RIU Palace has two! It’s lined with underwater tables and chairs, 2 open jacuzzis, and an infinity ledge.
The pool situation is one of the most important amenities for me when I travel. RIU Palace has 2 pools in addition to the swim-up bars. These pools have underwater lounge chairs and infinity ledge facing the beach, with views of The Arch and Lands End. The pools are as glorious as they look! And, of course, there are servers making rounds to keep your glass full!
RIU Palace has a large private beachfront area where you can make use of the free lounge chairs or pamper yourself with a beachfront massage. Note: as stated on their website, the waters of Medano Beach (and almost all other beaches in Cabo San Lucas) are too rough to swim.
All rooms have a balcony or terrace, most of which have ocean views. Check out the view from our terrace! For your convenience, every room has a frig stocked with non-alcoholic bottled drinks plus a liquor dispenser!
What I Dislike
(Full Disclosure: every item in the Dislike section is simply nit-picky. This is a gorgeous *all-inclusive* resort and gets 5 stars for convenience. I’m not complaining, I’m educating!)
I’m mentioning this one because it happened every single day. The main walkway between our wing and the rest of the resort (the pool, the beach, the restaurants, the exit) has a unassumingly steep and slippery bridge. Despite workers mopping the area each morning, someone would slip and fall everyday, my mom and myself included. And that’s one hard fall!
Of the 5 restaurants at RIU Palace, 3 require reservations: Mar de Cortes, Misaki, and Krystal Gourmet. Unfortunately for us, all 3 restaurants were booked during the entirety of our stay, forcing us to eat at the same place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Something about all-inclusive + reservations seems silly to me.
The resort advertises WiFi throughout the hotel, however, it only worked in our room.
I enjoyed the pools at RIU Palace but I’m not thrilled with a couple of things that I experienced. One downside was the watered-down drinks. The reality is: it happens at many (if not every) all-inclusive resorts. But if we’re paying upwards of $200/night per person, I’d like to get some real drinks. Luckily, the champagne was full strength!
Another downside is that the pool service closes at 6pm: the swim-up bar, the pool servers from the main pools and the towel booth. Important Note: when picking up towels from the booth, you must exchange your room key for the towels. So if you’re still lounging after 6pm, which many people are during the long summer days, you have to venture up to the lobby to get an extra room key. But, while you’re upstairs, you can refill your drinks at the lobby bar.
If I’m being honest, I was a little disappointed with the quality of the rooms, considering it’s a 5 star hotel. We booked a Junior Suite Ocean View Room with two beds. The bed situation was very odd: two separate double beds had been pushed together into one bed, with no option to push them apart. This design feels awkward, especially if you’re needing separate beds.
[Updated: I’ve discovered that this bed design exists in parts of Europe too. I guess I’ve been lucky to find 2 Queens in the past.]
The quality of the mattress, the sheets and the sofa was similar to a motel–hard and uncomfortable. The worst part was the AC. Since the resort has an open design, the only place you find AC is in your room. But the air never get’s cold and I swear it blows out water. Everything in our room was damp: the beds, the towels in the bathroom, even the clothes in our suitcase. It felt very yucky going to sleep in a wet bed. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
The resort was gorgeous and the staff was super friendly! I really enjoyed the pool with it’s glorious views. And we certainly ate and drank our money’s worth! I would definitely recommend RIU Palace to anyone traveling to Cabo.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
What does all-inclusive mean at Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas?
The term “all inclusive” mainly refers to meals, drink, and snacks that are typically provided late into the evening. Aside from lodging, you can anticipate meals, beverages, activities, and entertainment to be included at no additional charge. However, keep in mind that the price paid for a “all inclusive” option can vary, and as the price point increases, so do the included amenities.
For example, at some of the higher end luxury resorts, you may get day and night room service, dining options & specialty restaurants, premium drinks, water sports, and so on. Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas is All Inclusive resort. Meals and drinks at the hotel’s restaurants and bars are included in the room cost. Other products and perks, including as taxes and gratuities, as well as access to recreational activities and entertainment, may be included.
Is the beach swimmable at Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas?
No, swimming is not permitted on the beach at Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. Swimming is not usually feasible or advised at Cabo San Lucas due to its location on the Pacific. They typically fly the red flag. I noticed individuals bouncing about on tubes in the water near the beach. If you wish to swim, you may need to walk farther down the beach towards Medano beach to find swimmable areas.
Even at that beach, swimming is not always safe. Every day, you must examine the flags and the water conditions. Walking that far may be difficult due to the steep slope to the beach, and there is a precipitous drop down into the ocean, which may not be suitable for children. Some people ignore the warnings and swim in front of the Riu, but I wouldn’t chance it.
Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas have connecting rooms?
Connecting rooms are available, but must be requested in advance. Essentially, there is a big corridor with “mini” passageways growing off of it. There are two doors on the other side of the little hallway. However, there is no entrance to the other room from the inside of the chamber. This is true for the vast majority of the rooms. They may have the same setup, but they have an internal entrance, which is feasible given the room layout. You must contact the hotel to confirm adjoining rooms.
How many rooms does Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas have?
The RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas boasts 692 comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi and a variety of facilities. Relax in our spa or work out in our gym. Because of the warm Mexican weather, you may cool down in the hotel’s two pools, rest on the hammocks, or enjoy fantastic cocktails at the swim-up bars.
Amenities: had everything we needed.
Quality + Comfort: great quality and comfort everywhere but the room.
Service: it’s a 24 hour resort, everyone is very friendly and helpful, but pool service closes too early.
Location: it’s right on the beach and has an excellent view of The Arch. It’s 3 miles from downtown.
Food + Drink: the food was amazing and everything was accessible 24/7. Only bad is the watered down drinks.