We’re still living on the ‘Vitamin D high’ post-beach holiday and enjoying the renewed energy that came with it. So, before that disappears altogether, I best get on our review of the Royalton Riviera Cancun. We get anxious literally every time we book a hotel that we haven’t been to before. It’s a lot of money, and to us, the hotel can make or break a holiday. After several days searching and narrowing down options, we ended up deciding on the Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa. We were not disappointed, but read more to find out if it’s the resort for you! Here’s our Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort Review:
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How We Booked:
We booked through Sunwing Vacations, because we enjoy the hassle-free travelling to Mexico with flights, transfers, food, drinks and accommodation all-inclusive. But you could book with the hotel directly too.
Out of all the options, we chose this resort because it was relatively new and modern. The Royalton Riviera Resort boasts 5-star luxe with mostly good reviews. We’re not serial all-inclusivers but we do enjoy it once a year when we just want to laze for a week in the sun without a care in the world. Craig loves the week that he can put his wallet away for a week without a stress!
We arrived later than planned because of flight delays, and waiting around for passengers to get on the bus. But we weren’t stressed, and nor were many others. Most people grabbed a drink at the outside airport bar or on the bus for the short 20-minute ride to the hotel. Once we arrived, we were treated to welcome drinks and the staff quickly organised our luggage in order to check-in. Check-in was relatively quick. We were given arm bracelets in order to get in and out of our room which I thought was literally the best thing ever. It’s almost impossible to lose your room key that way and it is literally always on you!
You might want to dodge your ‘concierge’ on the way to your room, who reads more like a ‘sales person’ than your go-to-person for anything you need in the hotel. Yes, of course, they try sell you timeshare or a membership, but that isn’t any different to any other all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Just be prepared and rather turn to the concierge in the Lobby for things you might need.
The Royalton Riviera Hotel Rooms:
Again, our first view was in the dark but the rooms are not unlike the photos you see on their website. They’re pretty big, bright and modern. Ours had a gorgeous open-layout with the bath in full view of the room. Some people aren’t into that, and there are other layouts, so maybe just request that before check-in.
Swim-up Hotel Rooms:
We are, and pretty much always will be, swim-up room people. Yes, it costs more but has always been worth it for us. Our last resort had a better one — with actual loungers in the pool in front of our room so we could tan there. This one was a little more hidden away and only caught morning sun. So, obviously you can guess where we had breakfast the one morning! It’s also where we cooled off every afternoon before getting showered and ready for dinner.
Having arrived in the dark, and doing a minor tour without much idea of direction, we didn’t really know what the resort was like until the next morning when we went full combat and scoped out the entire place! The resort is made up of 4 U-shaped buildings, separating our section (which had the kids pool); the main U-section with most of the restaurants which the Lobby overlooks; as well as the two private U-sections: Hideaway (for adults only) and Diamond Club. Each of them have their own pools, restaurants and bars.
We did a walk through the Hideaway section which is, of course, beautiful. We didn’t book a room there even though that would have been our preference as we were travelling without kids — they didn’t have any availability on swim-up rooms, and that was more of a priority for us! That said, the kids within the resort did not bother us at all.
The beach was the only minor let down. Not that it wasn’t absolutely beautiful! But the shore was always covered by seaweed which just seems to be a general issue at all Mexican resorts. I’ve had it on our first visit to Mexico, but on our second visit, our resort had a cove that filtered out the seaweed. The water isn’t that Caribbean Blue either, but of course, people still swam in it! We spent most days down on the beach getting our tan on. Others played volleyball and some spent time at the beach bar on their swings, sipping their margaritas!
Afternoon Nap Spot:
Almost everyday, after an extensive visit to the Buffet, we found ourselves needing a siesta to keep up with our relaxed selves while on holiday. The first day, we spotted these hammocks and thereafter found ourselves keeping them warm for a good hour every afternoon around 2pm.
The Main Pool with the Theatre located in the Main U-shaped Building by the Lobby is where all the entertainment takes place mainly, so it is usually quite busy there. We found loungers there once or twice but instead opted for the beach or the pool just off the beach in our U-section. We avoided the kids pool at all costs but to be fair, the slides looked like so much fun — we would have even gone down them ourselves!
Don’t Miss The Sunrise:
The sun rises on the beach side (in March), and sets on the entrance-side fo the resort. You’ll know already, almost every holiday I have to wake up early at least one day to capture the sunrise. But the Royalton Riviera has another reason to set those alarm clocks for early: sunrise yoga! Craig headed off to their extensive Gym off the Lobby and left me in the capable hands of the Yoga Instructor with this backdrop (pictures below).
The best spot to view sunrise and sunset is definitely on the deck in the Lobby area overlooking the Main Pool area. We spent most nights before dinner, watching the pink-coloured horizon as the sun set while sipping Tamarind Margaritas!
We’re foodies, so yes, we are picky. We didn’t love every meal we had at the resort but we could never go wrong with the Buffet which is probably the biggest in terms of variety we have ever seen. We LOVED the fresh seafood wok/grill section so we probably ate their 9 times out of 10. Fresh prawns (shrimp) grilled with fresh vegetables for the win!
They also had a small gluten-free section which I didn’t really make use of, but I do admit, full of guilt, that on more than one occasion I grabbed a GF chocolate muffin. When on holiday though, right?! Speaking of indulgences: we helped ourselves to gelato almost every day too which you can find at the Buffet or at the small Cafe on the Lobby Level.
We did also try their speciality restaurants: the Mexican; the Mediterranean, the Steakhouse as well as the Japanese Teppanyaki meal (which you have to book for). We would probably have skipped on them all and opted for the Buffet every night but for the sake of trying it all out once, we went anyway. I must admit though, we didn’t get to the Italian or Seafood (in Diamond/Hideaway section) restaurants.
I couldn’t snap any photos of our Spa day, but it was a definite highlight. Craig planned well and had booked our spa day for the day before we left so we would leave refreshed, but it also happened to be a rainy day!
Tip: Always ask about the specials and discounts because we snagged a good special on a couples massage with facials and hydrotherapy at a fraction of what it would have cost had we booked them all separately.
We talk about all our travel issues to show that we aren’t immune to the same kind of troubles that most travellers will encounter too. I think relaying our troubles also ensures our readers who perhaps book holidays based on our posts are aware of the types of things that can happen and therefore, allows you to prepare for these circumstances as much as possible. In the past we have written about our not-so-favourite moments of our Greece Trip here, and our travel delays to New York here. So here are the few and minor issues we had on our stay at the Royalton Riviera:
In such a huge resort (with 1200 rooms), there are bound to be a few hiccups. One of them being woken up at 2am, 3 nights (out of the 6) from noisy neighbours. Upon calling reception to report noise complaints, they were quickly dealt with and we went straight back to sleep.
Please let me know down below in the comments box if you end up choosing to stay at the Royalton Riviera Cancun. We would love to know!