There’s nothing like an all-inclusive vacation to really relax, recharge, let go of stress and take a true break from everyday life. I spent a delightful nine days at the Riu Palace Pacifico all-inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico doing exactly that.
To be honest, we got a good deal on the room, so we didn’t have very high expectations. We also knew what to expect, having stayed at another Riu Palace resort in Cabo a couple years ago. Our room ended up being at the side of the property right next to some construction going on at the resort next door. Luckily we don’t tend to spend much time in the room, so this wasn’t an issue! The room itself was large, with a giant bed (two doubles pushed together) and a separate lowered sitting area complete with a couch, small dining table and a coffee table. The decor felt a bit dated, but my only minor complaint was the shower, which could have used a light! There was a mini fridge stocked with beer, water and soft drinks, as well as the standard Riu in-room liquor selection.
We had fairly high expectations for the food after loving the food at the Riu Palace in Cabo. The main buffet did not disappoint! It was massive, with both indoor and outdoor seating areas, an excellent salad bar (my favourite for lunch) and tons of tasty food options.
The specialty restaurants at this resort don’t require reservations, and you will get a pager if there’s a wait. We did wait over 45 minutes some nights, but I really liked not having to plan dinner reservations ahead. Options for dinners include a steakhouse, japanese restaurant, mexican restaurant, the main buffet and an adults only fusion restaurant. We tried them all!
Our group was celebrating a birthday and had arranged dinner for all 14 of us at the steakhouse. I was impressed with how well the staff accommodated this – they had arranged a huge table for the whole group complete with decorations! The food was also quite good. The meal started with a trio of ceviches to share, then the option of various steaks and seafood (I had the lobster) and birthday cake for dessert! At lunchtime this location does a buffet and snacks including to-go options if you want to eat by the pool.
Our favourite dinner was at Krystal, the adults only fusion restaurant. Despite the dated and kind of off-putting lavendar 90’s style decor, the food was really good! The foie gras starter was amazing.
The Japanese restaurant was not the typical teppanyaki-style show cooking that you usually see at an all inclusive resort. The sushi here was average (to be expected), but the steak and ramen dishes were great.
The Mexican restaurant has an awesome appetizer buffet, which would have been more than enough for an entire meal. The mains were great also, and they do a good job on the tableside Mexican coffee service, complete with flaming liqueurs.
Another option for dining is room service! I love it when this is included, although we only ended up ordering it once for a late night snack. The sandwiches were surprisingly good.
Facilities & Grounds
The resort is quite grand and palatial looking, although it is starting to show its age a bit. There were a lot of missing tiles in the pools and some fairly shabby washroom facilities. It is a small resort as all-inclusives go, with all the facilities and rooms located in one big building, so it doesn’t take long to get anywhere! The interior decor is grand in an over-the-top way, with lots of elaborate detail and gold accents. During our stay the staff were constantly cleaning, gardening and generally keeping the place spotless. The only thing that was a slight inconvenience was the lack of washroom facilities near the pool.
The resort features one giant pool with lots of loungers, including ample shady spots and umbrellas for those of us who burn easily! It has a large swim-up bar area including several booth style tables built into the pool. There is also a raised infinity pool area, which was a nice feature. It does get pretty loud and busy, with activities like water volleyball and various pool games throughout the day.
I love this beach! It is long, sandy and perfect for a walk or a run, if you’re into that kind of thing. The ocean was warm and there were even some fun waves during our stay. The resort has a nice lounging area set up among the palm trees, which was never too busy and included drink service.
I always plan to take advantage of the activities when I’m on an all-inclusive vacation, but somehow I never manage to fit that many in. I’m more of a read by the pool type of vacationer I guess! There was definitely no shortage of things to do – pool games, volleyball, soccer, tennis and even a foam party in the pool (the kids seemed to love this!). We did make it to the gym most mornings and walked down the beach to the nearby town of Bucerias one morning.
Overall it was a great, relaxing beach vacation and I would definitely consider going back to this resort!
Have you stayed at an all-inclusive resort? Do you prefer an active or lazy vacation?