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Review - Hotel Riu Yucatan

A quaint property for a first-time solo traveler.

Pros: It is a reasonably priced property with beach access and nice pools.

Cons: The property needs updating and the food isn't anything special.

Clientel - There were lots of couples, friend groups, families with older children, and a few other solo travelers.

Transportation - Transfers are included with the reservation, which is definitely a bonus. As you’re leaving the airport, there were greeters right before the exit outside. You can stop to talk to them (they will tell you how to get an antigen test at the airport). They also advised me that my shuttle drivers would be in green shirts and black shorts with a RIU sign. Sometimes, competing companies will accost you, but I did not feel that way at all. The drive was over an hour from CUN airport due to the multiple drop offs at other hotels and major road work on the highway to the resort areas. I did wish that the driver had water bottles available in the van, even if I had to pay a dollar or two. It was 93 degrees fahrenheit and I was a little parched.

Check in – Check-in was quick and simple. They will ask you to fill out a couple of forms and provide the credit card you used to book. The hotel provides free antigen tests (which are required to return to the US). They will give you the information on how to register. If you miss your test appointment, you can schedule for the technicians to come to your room for USD 65. You should have the test results within an hour or so.

Facilities – The facilities are clean and well-maintained. The property overall is in need of an update. Many properties in the area are undergoing renovations, so I expect they will be doing the same in the near future. There are three pools: an upper one outside the lobby, the main one closer to the beach, and a swim-up bar. You can find pool volleyball in the main pool; it's also the place where they hold the aquafit classes. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you cannot sit at any of the bars on the property. There is a small splash area for small children, but I did not see anyone use it during my stay.

There are interesting animals on the property (please see photos). Many people told me there were monkeys, also.

The spa (Renova) is not attached to the resort as it is shared by multiple properties. You had to walk out of the front lobby and swing a left and a right. It was beautiful, but did not look like it could accommodate someone with mobility issues since the treatment rooms were on the second floor. I booked a body scrub with full body wrap. If you book online ahead of time, you will receive a discount. Even without the discount, the services are reasonably priced. The rooms are beautiful and the therapist was fantastic. The gym is in the same building, but I did not use it.

If you go to the beach after 10 am, there are a lot of local vendors selling their wares. I am not the biggest fan of beaches in general, but this one was clean and there were lots of chairs to sit out and sun.

Room –The room was nice and was what I expected from the photos on the website. I had a view of the ocean from my balcony. Two drawbacks - (1) it was a third-floor walkup with no elevators. If you have an issue with stairs, mention it when booking/at check-in and make sure to request a room that is on the first level. (2) my room was right next to one of the restaurant kitchens. It wasn't a bother when I was in my room but was a bit of a turnoff if I wanted to sit outside. Again, the COVID-19 emergency forced a lot of changes, such as no liquor in the room dispensers. The fridge was stocked with soda, water, and beer. There was a shower gel dispenser in the shower, so no little bottle, which is great for waste. The drain in the shower was slow. One weird feature of the room was when I turned off the lights, I couldn't turn on the TV. It made it hard to enjoy my MTV 80s channel before bed (which we don't get in the US).

Restaurants - The food was nothing spectacular, but I ate well. Being on what I call a faux-carb diet, it was easy to find options like eggs and avocados for breakfast and other low carb choices. I only ate at one specialty restaurant, "Shanghai" Asian restaurant (buffet). It was nice, but again, not great. The buffets overall were nice with many choices, but I was not blown away by anything.

Staff - The staff was extremely friendly and always helpful.

Romero was my buddy from morning to night. He was my server at the Shanghai restaurant and greeted me in the morning at the breakfast buffet. He always checked on me and I was happy to have a friend.

Leonardo, a bartender at the swim-up bar, was awesome! He was great at remembering your order.

Samanta was a part of the activities department. She was smart, funny, and a great dancer. She got people excited about the live entertainment on the property.

TIP: Make sure to bring small bills for tipping. They will accept USD, so I did not exchange any cash. If you want to tip at the spa, I suggest bringing an envelope since they did not have any.

Check out – Check out was a snap. Just head to the front desk with your room key and towel card. They'll snip off your all-inclusive bracelet and you're set!

Overall, the hotel was nicely appointed. As a solo traveler, it was important to me that the property felt safe. Not once did I feel uneasy. I would recommend it if you are looking for a nice vacation spot on a budget during shoulder season.

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