A long horseshoe of white towers rings a vast pool with a swim-up bar, and beyond is a perfect white sand crescent of a beach. As far as chain all-inclusives go, the Riu is big enough to have all the facilities but not so sprawling you feel lost in some faux vacation city. It’s also a pretty good bargain, especially considering you never have to pay for meals, drinks, snacks, or non-motorized water sports such as windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing. You even get one free introductory scuba lesson in the pool. Annoyingly, you do have to pay for the Wi-Fi in the basic level of room, but everyone gets 90 free minutes a day in the public areas, which includes the airy lobby lounge by the pool open on three sides.
Wi-Fi comes free in the pricier junior suites and suites in the Adults Only wing, which also come with whirlpool tubs, lounge areas, an adults-only pool, premium drinks at the pool bar, and access to two adults-only restaurants (and, for a fee, dinner on the beach). There’s a daily kids program, and a disco for adults as well as a 24-hour sports bar. The food at the buffets is fine—nothing spectacular—though there are also Asian and Italian buffets, and two à la carte restaurants, but the best daily grub is probably the simplest: jerk chicken from the beachside grill.
- Reid Bramblett