Looking for where to stay in Playa del Carmen? Read this review to see if RIU Yucatan is the right all-inclusive resort for you.

Coffee and Mascara travel blog affiliate disclosure

Are you headed to Playa del Carmen and looking for where to stay? If you are someone who loves all-inclusive resorts and is wondering if a stay at the Hotel Riu Yucatan is right for you, then keep reading. I’m giving you all the details of this seaside resort in Mexico in this review of RIU Yucatan.

Short on time and want me to cut to the chase? Yes, I do recommend the Hotel Riu Yucatan. We had a wonderful stay here and enjoyed a fantastic vacation. If you want me to spill the tea because you’re ooking for more details of why I recommend this resort then read on.

Hotel Riu Yucatan Review – Resort Rooms

Hotel Riu Yucatan Room review

Let’s start this Hotel RIiuYucatan review with one of the most important things about any resort, the room. I’ll be honest, the room was very basic and underwhelming. As you can see above, it was fairly small. It did not extend much past what you can see here. To the left was the closet and then the bathroom.

Having said this, I don’t mind a basic room at a resort as long as it has a comfortable bed. I’m hardly ever in my room so it’s not a major concern for me.

Housekeeping was excellent, they always left our room clean and tidy. If you tip them, which I always recommend that you do, they may surprise you with fun towel animals, like the one below.

Towel art at the RIU Yucatan all-inclusive resort

In the bathroom, the shower and toilet both had their own separate areas, and the sinks were outside on their own, which I really liked. This way, my partner could be in the shower while I had full access to the sink and mirror and could get ready without having to wait for him to finish.

The bathroom area had a small fridge full of water, pop and beer. There was also an in-room bar with self-serve tequila, vodka and rum. We found that housekeeping didn’t replenish the water often enough, but the front desk was always happy to give us extra bottles when needed.

Hotel Riu Yucatan balcony

My favourite part about our room was the patio. It overlooked a row of palm trees, which made it secluded and meant that we weren’t staring into the opposing room. I sat on the patio and worked for a few hours some days and it was always peaceful and quiet.

The resort Wifi worked great outside so work was never an issue. This is an important factor for those of us who work remotely so I will say that the Internet here was fantastic! Both my partner and I could be on Zoom calls at the same time without any issues. We had both computers and our phones connected with zero issues.

I was more than happy to sit outside on the patio to work while my partner was inside. However, if having a nice, spacious room with a separate sitting area is important to you, then be sure to book a suite at the RIU Yucatan. They do have suites and they look very nice and are more than double the size of a standard room.

Hotel RIU Yucatan Review – Restaurants and Food

I will start by saying that their buffet food is incredible! The variety is nothing short of amazing and everything was always fresh and delicious. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the buffet was.

The Riu Yucatan has four themed restaurants as well as a buffet restaurant called La Hacienda. I am normally a huge fan of dining in themed restaurants for dinner when I stay at an all-inclusive resort.

After eating buffet food for breakfast and lunch, I enjoy a more fine dining experience for dinner. This was the first time that wasn’t the case.

Hotel Riu Yucatan Restaurants Review

Review of the restaurants at the Riu Yucatan Hotel

Sicilia is their Italian restaurant and it is à la carte for the main dish with buffet appetizers and dessert. I ate here twice and I really enjoyed the house lasagna, pictured above. It was nice to be able to enjoy their buffet for appetizers and dessert while being served my main dish.

La Margarita Steakhouse is fully à la carte and they serve you everything. It is one of the only two full-service themed restaurants at this resort.

While it is a theme restaurant, Shanghai Asian restaurant is not à la carte, but rather buffet style. We did not enjoy our meal here. In fact, we ended up leaving and going back to the buffet that evening.

And finally, they have a Mexican restaurant located at the Beach Club and it is à la carte. We didn’t eat here as we went into Playa del Carmen to enjoy a few authentic Mexican dinners.

Riu Yucatan buffet food

This resort had the best buffet food I have ever eaten at an all-inclusive resort. And that is saying a lot as I have stayed at quite a few! Every day we ate breakfast and usually lunch at the buffet and there was always a great selection of American food as well as Mexican food.

We started every lunch with a salad and fresh fruit. It was really easy to eat healthy at their buffet, which was a pleasant surprise. Of course, they also had a multitude of desserts and an ice cream bar. If you’re looking for where to stay in Playa del Carmen with an excellent buffet full of fresh and delicious food, then this is it!

Where to say in Playa del Carmen. Hotel Riu Yucatan Food Review

Where the food fell short was at the themed restaurants. This was the first time that I preferred to eat at the buffet over the restaurants. We actually left a restaurant one night to return to the buffet – that was a first!

Riu Yucatan Dress Code

The Riu Yucatan does not have an overall dress code, but the restaurants do have a dress code. You cannot wear your swimwear to any of the restaurants, even the buffet. You are required to wear a cover-up.

If you are dining at the buffet restaurant, La Hacienda, for dinner, men cannot wear tank tops and women should cover their midriffs.

Kat wearing a white crochet swimsuit coverup in Mexico

During the day, when we were poolside and wanted to grab a snack, I simply threw on a swimsuit coverup and my partner put on a tank top. Pictured above is one of the many crochet cover-ups I brought with me. The staff will ask you to leave if you are wearing nothing more than your swimsuit.

None of the restaurants at RIU Yucatan are super fancy and none require black-tie attire. The themed restaurants do require men to wear shirts with sleeves and for women to cover their midriffs.

Overall, it is a very casual resort. I wore my bikini with cover-ups during the day and sundresses and sandals to dinner most nights. I didn’t bring high heels with me as this isn’t a resort where you need them. The Riu Yucatan is where to stay in Playa del Carmen for casual vibes, not fancy.

The Spa and Gym at the Riu Yucatan

Hotel Riu Yucatan Gym Review

The gym, pictured above, looks like most other resort gyms. It’s very nice with decent equipment, and it’s empty, lol! I think I may have seen one person working out here during my entire stay. This bodes well if you like to work out on vacation as you’d never have to wait.

The spa was small but nice. I didn’t get any services done other than having them fix a broken nail. It had split in half and they fixed it for me. They were even able to match the bright pink polish I was wearing. the ladies who assisted me were very friendly and accommodating.

A Review of Riu Yucatan’s Pool Area

The pool area at the Riu Yucatan is one of the nicest ones I have ever seen at an all-inclusive resort. My favourite part was chilling in the loungers they had situated inside the swimming pool. What a great way to stay cool!

Review of the Hotel Riu Yucatan Resort

The above drone shot shows you three of the resort’s pools, including the swim-up bar. That’s the one in the top right-hand corner covered by a white roof. Both main pools had lounge chairs set into the water, which were great for keeping cool while catching some rays.

Our favourite spot to suntan was on these loungers, if we weren’t on the beach, that is. You can see just how close the beach really is! This is a true beachside resort.

We enjoyed the pool area every single day. Most days, they offered games such as volleyball and trivia. They also brought out a surfboard for silly games, which was entertaining.

Hotel Riu Yucatan Resort Pool is where you should stay in Playa del Carmen

When we were lounging and relaxing during the afternoons, I would usually split my time between chilling on one of the in-pool lounge chairs and participating in the games. The staff were all very convincing when they were promoting their games and I usually caved and joined in the fun.

I have to admit that the entertainment at this resort is very good. The entertainment staff are excellent at getting as many people involved as possible and maintaining very high energy. They offered dance classes, beach volleyball, a foam party and much more.

Riu Yucatan Resort Grounds

Hotel Riu Yucatan wildlife

I loved walking around the resort as is full of trees and wildlife. There are palm trees everywhere you look. There are areas that are very jungle-like, like the walkway pictured below.

We saw different wildlife every day and I always kept an eye out for the monkeys!

Kat wearing a black romper during the day in Mexico

Riu Yucatan Booking

While you can book the Riu Yucatan directly through their website, I chose to book through Expedia. I find it much easier to book an all-inclusive vacation this way because I can book my flights and hotel together and save money.

Where is the Riu Yucatan resort in Mexico?

I’d be remiss not to mention the important detail of where this resort is located. The RIU Yucatan is located in the Mayan Riviera area of Mexico. It is in Playacar, Playa del Carmen and is about a five-minute drive from the centre of Playa del Carmen.

This brings us to our next, important detail. At least for me, it’s a very important detail. I always want to know if the resort I’m going to book is on the beach or not. I always prefer a resort that is on the water.

Is Riu Yucatan located on the beach?

Aeiral shot of the Riu Yucatan's beach in Mexico

Yes, the Riu Yucatan resort is located right on the beach. That’s it, pictured above, as captured by my drone. Honestly, if it wasn’t located on the beach, I would not have booked it or stayed there. I prefer to stay right on the ocean when I’m in Mexico, or anywhere tropical for that matter.

If this isn’t important to you, then you may could book one of the other Riu hotels nearby that is not on the ocean, such as the Riu Tequila. As far as where to stay in Playa del Carmen that’s on the beach, I highly recommend Riu Yucatan.

Resorts close to, but not directly on the water are a more budget-friendly option. One advantage to staying at a Riu hotel is that you have access to the other RIU resorts nearby. Meaning you can stay at one and play at several.

How many Riu hotels are there in Mexico?

Hotel Riu Yucatan Mayan Riviera Review

Riu Hotels and Resorts is an international hotel chain that currently has 20 hotels in Mexico. RIU has six hotels in Playa del Carmen, four hotels in Cancun, two hotels in Costa Mujeres, three located in Riviera Nayarit, three hotels in Los Cabos, one in Mazatlan, and one in Guadalajara.

When staying at the Riu Yucatan, we did have access to several other resorts, but we only ever ventured to the RIU Tequila to check it out. It has a nightclub, whereas our resort did not. Now, enough about the other resorts, let’s get to why you’re here. Let’s dig into this hotel RIU Yucatan review.

How far is Riu Yucatan from the airport?

The Riu Yucatan resort is about an hour’s drive from the Cancun airport. If you book your stay as an all-inclusive, then you will likely have your transportation included. This will be in an air-conditioned bus that drops off people at a variety of resorts.

Depending on who else is travelling on the same day and time as you, you may be the first group to get dropped off or the last. It will likely take between 1.5 to 2 hours for you to finally arrive at the resort unless you book your own private transportation.

Conclusion – Hotel Riu Yucatan Review 2023

I recommend staying at the Hotel Riu Yucatan because I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Riu Yucatan in Playa del Carmen. The resort itself is gorgeous and the staff was amazing, but there are some aspects that I feel could be improved, such as the food at their themed restaurants.

We had a great time here and I do recommend this resort. If you are fine with a basic room and delicious buffet food, then I say go for it. For us, it was perfect as we never spend a lot of time in our room and I was happy to work on the patio. Alternatively, of course, you could book one of their suites. The location is ideal as it is on the beach and also a mere 5 minutes from the centre of Playa del Carmen.

If you have never stayed at an all-inclusive and want more advice before booking, check out my post all about how to pick the best all-inclusive for you. Regardless of where you decide to stay, you’ll love these 10 awesome all-inclusive resort hacks for your next vacation.

If a more luxurious vacation is what you’re after, read my review of the Atlantis Bahamas resort to see if that’s more your speed. They call themselves a full-service resort and they definitely provide luxury!

Got a question or comment about this article? Join the conversation on FacebookInstagram, or X and share your thoughts!

Where to stay in Playa del Carmen
Where to stay in Playa del Carmen - Riu Yucatan review