Pros

  • Wide, clean, semi-private beach with plenty of chairs
  • Three large pools, including swim-up bars and an adult-only pool
  • Kid-centric water park and a kids' club
  • Four all-inclusive restaurants including two specialty a la cartes
  • Rooms feature free minibars, flat-screen TVs, and private balconies
  • Full-service Renova Spa offers saunas, hydrotherapy, and a salon
  • Small, modern fitness center with a decent equipment selection
  • In-room bottled water is free (limited)
  • Free valet parking in a secure, off-street lot
  • Free Wi-Fi in common areas
See More Pros

Cons

  • Style often verges on dated or gaudy
  • Nothing within walking distance
  • In-room Wi-Fi is only available via paid plans
  • Slow elevators can be frustrating with long wait times
  • Checkout process is often chaotic, especially during peak season
See More Cons

Bottom Line

As Mazatlan’s largest resort, the 716-room Hotel Riu Emerald Bay has just about every feature an all-inclusive traveler would expect in a typical, slightly dated package. There are three large pools, a massive, a semi-private stretch of beach, numerous restaurants and bars, and a large spa. Rooms are typical of the Riu brand, ranging from simple and dated to more upmarket, with amenities like all-you-can-drink liquor racks and minibars, flat-screen TVs, and private balconies (with optional water views). Make no mistake: This is a party hotel and is built for people who like a higher-volume beach getaway, and there's nothing really within walking distance. For a bit more money, Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan has a quieter, more relaxed vibe and similar features.

See More Bottom Line

https://stage.oyster.com/mexico/hotels/hotel-riu-emerald-bay/photos/the-hotel/

Oyster Hotel Review

Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

Scene

Massive all-inclusive resort with a frenetic, though family-friendly vibe

The Riu brand doesn't do small, and everything about this Mazatlan outpost is on-brand -- for better or worse. The hotel is built with grandeur in mind, though it doesn't always live up to that high-minded ethos. Yes, the large scale of the property’s walkways, entryways, and common areas indeed impresses, the design and decor are mostly forgettable. Expect lots of nominally upmarket details -- marble, pillars, palm trees, and soaring ceilings -- but it all looks more like someone's cheap approximation of fancy. Take the hotel's spa, which is flush with faux-Grecian urns, salmon-pink pillars, and marble -- in the end it still looks like a movie set. While the Riu brand doesn’t explicitly advertise it, they're known for their boisterous, party-hard hotels and the Emerald Bay location is no different. Even so, the clientele is an even mix of families, vacationing couples, and groups seeking a lively beachfront getaway with plenty of all-inclusive tropical cocktails and all-day music. Consequently, the atmosphere is loud and frenetic, especially during peak season, when the hotel is at or near capacity.

See More Scene

Location

On a secluded beach, a 20-minute drive from Mazatlan’s Golden Zone

The property’s secluded location feels a world away from the hustle of Mazatlan’s Golden Zone, and that's generally a fine thing for the hotel's guests, who rarely find reason to leave the property. However, this means a distinct lack of restaurants, shops, or noteworthy attractions of any kind within an easy walk. While most guests aren’t likely to venture off-property, those who do should expect a 20-minute cab ride to reach the center of the city’s Golden Zone. The historic old town will take up to 40 minutes to reach by car. Mazatlan International Airport (MZT) is also more than 40 minutes away by car. While the hotel offers paid airport transportation options, guests will likely find the local private shuttle and taxi services to be cheaper and just as convenient to arrange. Several brand name providers in the airport terminal can provide rental car service. However, the area’s drug-related crime continues to be a serious concern and travelers are strongly advised against driving themselves around Sinaloa.

See More Location

Rooms

Rooms offer a bit of sophistication, plus free minibars and private balconies but only slow, paid Wi-Fi

Unfortunately, decor varies throughout the hotel, and some lower category rooms do feel a bit dated. Take the Double Room, for instance, which has a blue-on-blue color scheme that looks lifted from an old hotel in a small town in Italy. The bedspreads, plaid curtains, and antique-style furniture don't do much to mitigate this effect. Higher category rooms, like the Whirlpool Bath Suite we saw, are a bit nicer and include details like four-poster beds, sharper fabrics, and marble flooring. 

Entry-level Double, Duplex, and Triple rooms offer similar one-room floor plans that differ primarily in their bed configuration. Junior Suites have bigger floor plans and upgraded amenities including four-poster beds, oversized bathrooms, and guaranteed sea-view balconies. Flagship Whirlpool Bath Suites feature a spacious, stepped floor plan with a sunken living room, plus a larger balcony with a private hot tub and stunning water views. Every room category includes a solid list of amenities typical of a hotel of this class -- flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning -- plus an all-inclusive minibar with beer and premium liquor taps. Wi-Fi is only available via paid daily plans, however, and many guests complain of substantial slowdowns during peak times.

Bathrooms are spacious in every room category. Deep soaking tubs, double sink vanities, and Riu brand shower amenities are standard.

See More Rooms

Features

A extensive list of amenities, including a beach, four restaurants, and a kid-centric waterpark

With such a massive footprint, it’s no surprise the resort offers more amenities than nearly any other hotel in Mazatlan. At the top of the list are a wide, semi-private beach, four restaurants with a handful of satellite bars, and three pools including an adults-only pool and a kids-only water play area. Entertainment takes place by the pools during the day, and is offered at night as well. There's also a nightclub. While the hotel is all-inclusive, guests should expect fees for Wi-Fi in rooms (though it's free in common areas). Valet parking is free.

See More Features

Beach

A wide, beautiful strip of semi-private beach with choppy waters

While the adjacent Brujas Beach is technically public, the hotel has carved out a substantial space that’s roped off exclusively for guests. The area includes more than a hundred lounge chairs. While there are few umbrellas to be found, dozens of tall palm trees provide adequate natural shade throughout much of the day. The beach is exposed to open sea, making for consistently rough, choppy waters. Guests are allowed to swim, though it’s less than ideal for children.

See More Beach

Pools

Three large pools, including an adult-only pool, hot tubs, and a kiddy play area

The outdoor terrace consists primarily of three large pools. The two largest pools are family-friendly, with a loud, lively atmosphere that rarely quiets down. The third and smallest pool is billed as adult-only and has a sizable swim-up bar, hot tubs, and a dozen in-water bar tables. However, the policy was rarely enforced during our visit. Long rows of white plastic lounge chairs and palapas ring the edges of each pool. With the hotel at capacity, it’s not uncommon for guests to feel extremely cramped. In some cases, the chairs are literally touching one another. A small water park with a water slide and other water features near the kids’ club is available for younger guests.

See More Pools

All-Inclusive / Food

Four full restaurants -- including two specialty a la cartes -- plus several snack bars

Each of the hotel's restaurants is part of the all-inclusive package, and premium drinks are included as well. The hotel’s central dining space, Las Tres Islas, offers buffet-style breakfast and dinner service in a cavernous, casual space. Las Gaviotas provides a similar experience in a tall, two-story building. The restaurant serves an all-day menu including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Buffets in both spaces are a predictable mix of Mexican and Western fare. A rotating selection of themed cuisine stations (Italian, Asian, etc.) is always available. Like most other common areas, there’s a sense that the hotel is striving for an upscale style, however, both spaces feel uninspiring.

Two additional specialty restaurants offer dinner-only a la carte service. Tabasco has traditional Mexican fare, while Bamboo serves pan-Asian (including Chinese and Japanese). Decor in both spaces is a step above other common areas in the hotel, however, it’s all a bit canned and has a chain restaurant feel.

See More All-Inclusive / Food

Spa

Large, full-service spa with a beauty salon, saunas, and a hydrotherapy space

The full-service Renova Spa provides more than a dozen treatment rooms with a long list of massage services available (fee). The style indoors is a bit gaudy and dated. Every service is also offered in one of a handful of private palapas situated on the beach, which are nicer. Private hot tubs, saunas, and a hydrotherapy space are provided exclusively for spa guests in the main spa building. An attached salon provides a list of typical beauty treatments, including hair and nail services.

See More Spa

Fitness Center

Small, modern fitness center with limited equipment

The on-site fitness center is modest relative to the hotel’s massive scale. However, the dozen cardio machines are modern and situated among a bright, airy space with hardwood laminate flooring that adds a touch of class.

See More Fitness Center

Things You Should Know About Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

Also Known As

  • Riu Emerald Bay

Address

Av. Sabalo-Cerritos #3404 Zona Costera Cerritos, Mazatlan 82110, Mexico

Website

Oyster Hotel Review

Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

Scene

Massive all-inclusive resort with a frenetic, though family-friendly vibe

The Riu brand doesn't do small, and everything about this Mazatlan outpost is on-brand -- for better or worse. The hotel is built with grandeur in mind, though it doesn't always live up to that high-minded ethos. Yes, the large scale of the property’s walkways, entryways, and common areas indeed impresses, the design and decor are mostly forgettable. Expect lots of nominally upmarket details -- marble, pillars, palm trees, and soaring ceilings -- but it all looks more like someone's cheap approximation of fancy. Take the hotel's spa, which is flush with faux-Grecian urns, salmon-pink pillars, and marble -- in the end it still looks like a movie set. While the Riu brand doesn’t explicitly advertise it, they're known for their boisterous, party-hard hotels and the Emerald Bay location is no different. Even so, the clientele is an even mix of families, vacationing couples, and groups seeking a lively beachfront getaway with plenty of all-inclusive tropical cocktails and all-day music. Consequently, the atmosphere is loud and frenetic, especially during peak season, when the hotel is at or near capacity.

See More Scene

Location

On a secluded beach, a 20-minute drive from Mazatlan’s Golden Zone

The property’s secluded location feels a world away from the hustle of Mazatlan’s Golden Zone, and that's generally a fine thing for the hotel's guests, who rarely find reason to leave the property. However, this means a distinct lack of restaurants, shops, or noteworthy attractions of any kind within an easy walk. While most guests aren’t likely to venture off-property, those who do should expect a 20-minute cab ride to reach the center of the city’s Golden Zone. The historic old town will take up to 40 minutes to reach by car. Mazatlan International Airport (MZT) is also more than 40 minutes away by car. While the hotel offers paid airport transportation options, guests will likely find the local private shuttle and taxi services to be cheaper and just as convenient to arrange. Several brand name providers in the airport terminal can provide rental car service. However, the area’s drug-related crime continues to be a serious concern and travelers are strongly advised against driving themselves around Sinaloa.

See More Location

Rooms

Rooms offer a bit of sophistication, plus free minibars and private balconies but only slow, paid Wi-Fi

Unfortunately, decor varies throughout the hotel, and some lower category rooms do feel a bit dated. Take the Double Room, for instance, which has a blue-on-blue color scheme that looks lifted from an old hotel in a small town in Italy. The bedspreads, plaid curtains, and antique-style furniture don't do much to mitigate this effect. Higher category rooms, like the Whirlpool Bath Suite we saw, are a bit nicer and include details like four-poster beds, sharper fabrics, and marble flooring. 

Entry-level Double, Duplex, and Triple rooms offer similar one-room floor plans that differ primarily in their bed configuration. Junior Suites have bigger floor plans and upgraded amenities including four-poster beds, oversized bathrooms, and guaranteed sea-view balconies. Flagship Whirlpool Bath Suites feature a spacious, stepped floor plan with a sunken living room, plus a larger balcony with a private hot tub and stunning water views. Every room category includes a solid list of amenities typical of a hotel of this class -- flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning -- plus an all-inclusive minibar with beer and premium liquor taps. Wi-Fi is only available via paid daily plans, however, and many guests complain of substantial slowdowns during peak times.

Bathrooms are spacious in every room category. Deep soaking tubs, double sink vanities, and Riu brand shower amenities are standard.

See More Rooms

Features

A extensive list of amenities, including a beach, four restaurants, and a kid-centric waterpark

With such a massive footprint, it’s no surprise the resort offers more amenities than nearly any other hotel in Mazatlan. At the top of the list are a wide, semi-private beach, four restaurants with a handful of satellite bars, and three pools including an adults-only pool and a kids-only water play area. Entertainment takes place by the pools during the day, and is offered at night as well. There's also a nightclub. While the hotel is all-inclusive, guests should expect fees for Wi-Fi in rooms (though it's free in common areas). Valet parking is free.

See More Features

Beach

A wide, beautiful strip of semi-private beach with choppy waters

While the adjacent Brujas Beach is technically public, the hotel has carved out a substantial space that’s roped off exclusively for guests. The area includes more than a hundred lounge chairs. While there are few umbrellas to be found, dozens of tall palm trees provide adequate natural shade throughout much of the day. The beach is exposed to open sea, making for consistently rough, choppy waters. Guests are allowed to swim, though it’s less than ideal for children.

See More Beach

Pools

Three large pools, including an adult-only pool, hot tubs, and a kiddy play area

The outdoor terrace consists primarily of three large pools. The two largest pools are family-friendly, with a loud, lively atmosphere that rarely quiets down. The third and smallest pool is billed as adult-only and has a sizable swim-up bar, hot tubs, and a dozen in-water bar tables. However, the policy was rarely enforced during our visit. Long rows of white plastic lounge chairs and palapas ring the edges of each pool. With the hotel at capacity, it’s not uncommon for guests to feel extremely cramped. In some cases, the chairs are literally touching one another. A small water park with a water slide and other water features near the kids’ club is available for younger guests.

See More Pools

All-Inclusive / Food

Four full restaurants -- including two specialty a la cartes -- plus several snack bars

Each of the hotel's restaurants is part of the all-inclusive package, and premium drinks are included as well. The hotel’s central dining space, Las Tres Islas, offers buffet-style breakfast and dinner service in a cavernous, casual space. Las Gaviotas provides a similar experience in a tall, two-story building. The restaurant serves an all-day menu including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Buffets in both spaces are a predictable mix of Mexican and Western fare. A rotating selection of themed cuisine stations (Italian, Asian, etc.) is always available. Like most other common areas, there’s a sense that the hotel is striving for an upscale style, however, both spaces feel uninspiring.

Two additional specialty restaurants offer dinner-only a la carte service. Tabasco has traditional Mexican fare, while Bamboo serves pan-Asian (including Chinese and Japanese). Decor in both spaces is a step above other common areas in the hotel, however, it’s all a bit canned and has a chain restaurant feel.

See More All-Inclusive / Food

Spa

Large, full-service spa with a beauty salon, saunas, and a hydrotherapy space

The full-service Renova Spa provides more than a dozen treatment rooms with a long list of massage services available (fee). The style indoors is a bit gaudy and dated. Every service is also offered in one of a handful of private palapas situated on the beach, which are nicer. Private hot tubs, saunas, and a hydrotherapy space are provided exclusively for spa guests in the main spa building. An attached salon provides a list of typical beauty treatments, including hair and nail services.

See More Spa

Fitness Center

Small, modern fitness center with limited equipment

The on-site fitness center is modest relative to the hotel’s massive scale. However, the dozen cardio machines are modern and situated among a bright, airy space with hardwood laminate flooring that adds a touch of class.

See More Fitness Center

https://stage.oyster.com/mexico/hotels/hotel-riu-emerald-bay/photos/the-hotel/

Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Babysitting Services

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Beach

  • Beauty / Hair Salon

  • Cable

  • Children's Pool

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Free Breakfast

  • Internet

  • Kids Allowed

  • Kids Club

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Mini Bar (with liquor)

  • Pool

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Spa

  • Supervised Kids Activities

  • Swim-Up Bar

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.