Thursday, November 15, 2012

RIU Palace Las Americas

Elizabeth: So that's it, then? That's the secret, grand adventure of the infamous Jack Sparrow. You spent three days lying on a beach drinking rum.
Jack Sparrow: Welcome to the Caribbean.
(Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)

Those are my favorite movie lines ever and pretty much summed up our plans for the weekend at RIU Palace Las Americas. No tours, no schedules, just relaxing, exploring a new hotel and enjoying the sun and beautiful water.

This was our second trip to Cancun and our first at RIU Palace Las Americas. The hotel was gorgeous. It was located along the bend at the top of the Hotel Zone’s 7, and although it was built in 2003, it felt more like a historic old hotel. The exterior was gleaming white with wide porches and balustrades. The huge lobby had faux marble pillars, a stained-glass ceiling and a bar with dark wood walls. The lobby opened out to an infinity pool circled by Greek-style statues and arbor-shaded sunbeds. I kept thinking that Mama would really love the hotel because of all the quiet, shady spots and couches for reading or sipping a cup of coffee. There was also an activities pool, where all the games took place during the day.

RIU Palace Las Americas

hotel lobby


main pool
Main Pool

main pool

My biggest disappointment was our room. When we checked in late Friday afternoon, I asked for a room on an upper floor, but the desk clerk said there weren’t any available so we were stuck on the first level, just above the lobby. To make up for it, the clerk upgraded us from a regular room to a suite. The suite was enormous. It had a king-sized bed and sunken sitting area with a couch and flat screen TV, plus a separate living room, a huge bathroom and a walk-in closet. The suite was nice but we really didn’t need or use all that space. What I really wanted was to see the ocean, but our glass doors only led to a wide terrace which blocked the view. The weird thing was that you had to jump over the metal “balcony” railing to get out onto the terrace. It was a bit awkward hopping back and forth but it least we could see the water.

Our Suite

view from balcony
Oceanview....Sort of

view from terrace
View from Terrace

on the terrace

RIU Palace had 6 different restaurants that all required dinner reservations except for Don Roberto, the buffet. Since we were only there for a few days, I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to get into any of the a la carte restaurants. But we ended up getting reservations for both the Italian and the Japanese restaurants. The first night we ate dinner at the buffet and surprisingly, it actually had some of the best food and service. There were piles of huge shrimp and every other kind of food imaginable. Even, oh hello, a chocolate fondue station! I was a happy girl. :-)  Los Arcos, the Italian restaurant was also good, but my favorite meal was at Sakura, the Japanese restaurant. We shared a large plate of sushi, then I had the spicy udon noodles and grilled grouper. Yum! I’d give the food at RIU Palace 5 stars.

Drinks, however, were another matter. When we first got to the hotel, I was excited about the martini menu at the lobby bar. I love a good Cosmopolitan or Lemon Drop. But after two martinis and not even the slightest buzz, I realized that that my alcoholic drinks didn’t have any alcohol! The same thing happened when I ordered a mojito or rum and Coke. To quote Jack Sparrow once again, “Why is the rum gone??”

buffet restaurant
Don Roberto, Buffet Restaurant

Italian restaurant
Los Arcos, Italian Restaurant

Japanese restaurant
Sakura, Japanese Restaurant

sushi at Japanese restaurant
Sushi at Sakura

lobby bar
Lobby Bar

On our last Cancun visit, we stayed on the long side of the 7, which has miles of wide beach and lots of activity – people walking, parasailing and Jet Ski rentals. The beach at the top of the 7 was completely different. In fact, there was not much beach at all since most of the sand had been washed away by storms, leaving exposed rocks. It had its own, more wild kind of beauty. I missed the endless white sand of the long side but it was also fun to climb around the rocks, getting sprayed by the breaking waves.

Ron on rocks

waves on rocks


Punta Cancun lighthouse
Punta Cancun lighthouse

As I said earlier, we didn’t have any plans for the weekend except to relax and explore the resort. We mostly hung out by the activities pool, which got the most sunshine. There was usually some kind of activity going on – salsa lessons, Corn Hole tournaments or pool volleyball. I ended up getting “volunteered” for the kayaking competition, which was like tug of war with two people on kayaks paddling against each other until one pulled the other over the rope in the center of the pool. It looked like a lot of fun so when only two women signed up, I didn’t mind when the activities staff pulled me and the lady next to me into the pool to play. I won the first round, but in the second round I was up against a lady who had quite a bit of a weight advantage. No way was I going to be able to pull her across the pool, but I gave it a valiant effort. :-)  We also took a Hobie Cat out for a sail one afternoon.

activities pool
Activities Pool

kayak competition
Kayak Competition

kayak competition
Winning the First Round


One nice thing about staying at a RIU hotel is that you can visit other nearby RIUs. On Sunday, we took the bus over to the brand-new RIU Palace Peninsula. The Peninsula was very different than Las Americas. Not only was it much larger, it was ultramodern with bright purple couches in the lobby and white Ikea-style furniture in the guest rooms (we peeked into a couple while the housekeepers were cleaning). Like Las Americas, the Peninsula had a rocky beach but there were plenty of lounge chairs around the multiple pools. The lunch buffet was amazing! They served stone crab claws and grilled mahi mahi, delicious barbecue short ribs, pizzas, pastas and an array of beautiful desserts. I hadn’t expected to like the Peninsula because of the size and d├ęcor but we really enjoyed it and Ron and I decided we wouldn’t mind staying there on a future trip.

RIU Palace Peninsula
RIU Palace Peninsula



view of RIU Palace Las Americas
View of RIU Palace Las Americas

desserts at lunch buffet
Desserts at Lunch Buffet

As for night life, we couldn’t stay awake late enough to experience it. Between the end of daylight savings time, the 1-hour time zone difference and the fact that the sun was down at 5 o’clock, we were ready for bed at 8! We’re such party animals. :-)  After dinner, we took walks around the hotel or to the RIU Cancun next door. We’d ride the elevators up to the highest floors to look at the sparkling lights of the Hotel Zone. It was a great weekend – one last taste of summer before the holiday craziness begins.

towel swans

RIU Palace Las Americas at night

1 comment:

  1. Your usual excellent photos! The black lava rock beach reminds me of Maui.