Riu Hotels in Playacar, Mexico

We present videos from our honeymoon in Mexico that review the two hotels we stayed at, booked through Thomson holidays. The long and short of it is that we weren’t happy with initial hotel the Riu Playacar (our fault we didn’t work out what we wanted and also were a bit wowed with the trip to see through the marketing), so we paid for an upgrade to the Riu Palace Mexico which was much better for us, although even then we got a bit fed up with the whole all-inclusive thing (didn’t really sit with out usual individual choice of holiday. Anyway read on and watch them videos!

Initially we’d booked in at the Riu Playacar, Playa Del Carmen for the full two weeks. Fine for a holiday, but not for this one off occasion all the way over in Mexico, when you can get the same level pretty much standard closer to home.


Things not great for our honeymoon:

  1. Basic rooms
  2. A large bed but made up of two beds pushed together (ok maybe that’s the norm here but at this hotel no effort to create one large bed, i.e. separate sheets and quilt
  3. Poor quality of spirits in the room. No brands apart from the tequila. The other spirits non-descript in label and taste and with these you’re not really tempted to use the all-inclusive because they’re not a pleasure to drink!
  4. Entertainment hall right outside the balacony so feels like being on a Butlins camp ’til late at night
  5. Food in the restaurants was ok but nothing more. Basically a large buffer restaurant where three-quarters of the food is weird mass produced garbage (colourful but basically chopped peppers and spam salads. Breakfast here was nice though. Then in evening there are two pop-up restaurants which are actually the one restaurant room split into two
  6. The traders that the management let into the hotel compound tend to setup their stalls in a way that makes it difficult to walk around at night and spoil the tranquility.

It sounds like we’re really hard to please! There were some good things: the breakfast was great, and also the bloody mary’s the guy in the lobby bar serves up (actually better than the Riu Palace does).

Normally we’d be very happy with this, but not when we spent so much money with Thomsons, to go halfway across the world, on our one (and hopefully only) honeymoon!


So after a couple of days we made the decision that if we did not ask to be moved to another hotel, we’d end up not enjoying our honeymoon. So we the Thomson rep organised a transfer to the Riu next door the Riu Palace. Unfortunately Thomson were unable to give us any kind of concessions to us on an upgrade so we had to pay the extra (can’t really complain about this), but they also passed on a £400 ‘cancellation’ fee (really annoying considering it was actually an upgrade and they were taking more money from us for the paid upgrade). We paid up because we felt we had little choice, we tried to ask for money on return after looking into it but no joy, nice way to start married life with another £2k debt. We had bought premium seat upgrade on plane, multiple excursions etc. Moldy buggers! Any honeymooners flying with Thomson you might want to check our paperwork below.


Complaint to Thomson about cancellation fee

Paperwork provided in-hotel about cancellation fee

Thomson After Travel response to our complaint



Anyway gave us an opportunity to carry out a further video review, and in the end we were very pleased we did make the move. The general hotel accomodation was much more luxurious and facilitating. The grounds were nice to walk through. Lots more restaurant choices as detailed in the video.


All in all, looking back now, it’s amazing that we went to Mexico. It was very relaxing for us after all the tiring and worrying preparations of our wedding. And we had a good time.

As an all-inclusive virgin I’m not sure I’d do it again. Foods an enjoyable part of the holiday for us as I’m sure it is for a lot of people, not just pile it high stuff, but tasting food that is unique from an area, traditional and basic quality. Neither hotels could deliver on this. I guess this is because they have to cut costs and they’re limited in their food selection being where they are on the Yukatan peninsula. But some of the restaurants were really hit and miss, and looking in the brochure they offer the same menus worldwide. The fusion restaurant ‘Krystal’ was absolutely dreadful! Most of the other restaurants absolutely piled on the salt into their dishes, and many dishes/sauces had some weird chlorine taste going on. Surprisingly the mexican food itself wasn’t up to much either (we did have good mexican food out one day when we visited Coba so we knew that it was about). The other tourists we spoke to were really surprised that we were there for two weeks – I guess that US visitors are there for shorter breaks during which time there is still a novelty factor. By the end of the holiday I was looking forward to getting back to our home kitchen and be the preparer of our own meals!

Update – The Riu Palace has gone undergone an update to their rooms, see a tour of the new accommodation in our video Riu Palace Mexico Playacar renovation 2012

So our advise for other honeymooners -

think wisely about what you are after. If you are after luxury see if you can find a smaller establishment that maybe provides just a bed and a breakfast but then leaves you and your tastebuds to make up your own mind for other meals out. See if you can get a better deal and time by staying in Europe. We had a fantastic holiday a couple of years ago at Palolem Beach in Goa India. We stayed at a place called Ciaran’s which was a small collection of beach huts, but didn’t feel like roughing it at all, very boho and beautiful and probably a good site cheaper than anything the Riu can do: http://ciarans.com/


Complaint to Thomson about cancellation fee

Paperwork provided in-hotel about cancellation fee

Thomson After Travel response to our complaint

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