Riu Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
In April 2016, I was lucky enough to take my little family to the 4.5 star Riu Vallarta for a week’s holiday. We were a party of 2 adults and a 1.5 year old. We flew with Westjet on non-stop direct flights. Private transfers were non-stop and took about 20 minutes from the airport in each direction.
Check in at the resort was quick as there were 4 agents at the desk. We had requested a room with king bed and crib. This was accommodated – though we did have to ask a few times for the crib to arrive. We were upgraded to a partial-ocean view room. I personally would have preferred a garden view room on the back side of the resort because as we found out, with our room overlooking the courtyard, the night time entertainment did make it hard for a young toddler to sleep. That said, the night time entertainment I managed to catch was great! Each night beginning with a performance from the kids in the kids club, then on to live music, acrobats, dancers, etc. I enjoy the night time shows at resorts.
Admittedly – the bed was the hardest bed I have ever slept on in my life! So to note, please request a mattress topper when staying at the Riu Vallarta.
The kids club is for kids aged 4+, my son was only 1.5 at the time, but I was allowed to bring him in for some play time, coloring, music and cartoons in the air conditioning. There is a very small round children’s pool in the kids club which would be perfect for parents with infants. We did have full access to the Riu Jalisco next door, which is known to have a wonderful kids pool so we spent quite a few afternoons here. The staff at both kids clubs were fantastic. There are 2 pools at the Riu Vallarta, one is adults only with a swim up bar and the other is family friendly with 2 small water slides for older kids.
Food at the resort was great! Tons of variety as the buffet area is huge, plenty of seating, and lots of great staff. Even if there was something not out that I wanted (such as peanut butter for a toddler who lives off the stuff!) at dinner time, I only had to ask and it was provided. There are no longer reservations that need to be made for a la carte restaurants at Riu resorts.
Resort staff were constantly cleaning. The resort was immaculate, and I loved the grandeur of the lobby with the beautiful, large flower arrangement. Regarding wifi – we paid to have it throughout the resort and it was wonderful. Fast and no buffer time.
One thing I did find was the courtyard bar, even with 2 or 3 servers, can be fairly slow as it is the place to be at night. Please be patient, folks!
The beach – well, the beach is incredible. Long and wide and you can walk forever! All the way up to Bucerias and back. Plenty of space and chairs for guests.
Room attendants were very sweet ladies. At check out, it turned out we had forgotten our son’s blanket. Before we left the resort, our room attendant came running to find us with the blanket. I was so grateful for to her and as any parent knows, a kid without their a blankie is a kid that doesn’t sleep.
Overall, I enjoyed this resort. I especially loved the beach and dining options. I would recommend a garden view room or ocean front suite as I find the partial ocean view far too “partial” and loud. The view from the picture below is hanging out and looking around our balcony.
I saw several weddings while I was here, and having planned weddings at Riu’s, I know the staff are top notch. The resort is great for budget minded groups looking for a beautiful sunset wedding!