Riviera Nayarit, Mexico – Hotel Riu Palace Pacifico

My husband and I have travelled to Mexico a few times (both the Cancun side and the Puerto Vallarta side) and we really enjoy it there. We booked this place on short notice with a last minute deal and weren’t sure how it would be. When we got there, I must say we were very pleasantly surprised. 

THE GOOD

This resort was fully wheelchair accessible as was the room we stayed in (room 1073). We were a little upset when we arrived as there was no grab bar in the bathroom by the toilet but after speaking with a manager about it, they had one installed within a few hours. The room was well-equipped for someone in a wheelchair with a wheel-under sink and a wheel-in shower.

Toilet After Grab Bar Was Installed

Toilet After Grab Bar Was Installed

Wheel-in Shower, No Shower Bench - We Used a Deck Chair and it Worked Out Fine

Wheel-in Shower, No Shower Bench – We Used a Deck Chair and it Worked Out Fine

Wheel-Under Sink

Wheel-Under Sink

Accessible Bedroom

Accessible Bedroom

There was a constant supply of liquor and other beverages in the room. This resort really was all-inclusive in the sense that you could drink as much as you wanted without anyone giving you a hard time. The bar staff was happy to accommodate any request and they did not cheap out on alcohol at this resort. 

The gym and spa could be accessed by someone in a wheelchair. We used the gym quite a lot and it was a really nice space with hard wood floors, TVs, free weights and new equipment. There was also an accessible bathroom right beside the spa and gym, which you could also wheel to from the pool area without any trouble.

Gym

Gym

Ramp to Spa and Gym - Very Easy Access

Ramp to Spa and Gym – Very Easy Access

Accessible Bathroom by the Gym and Spa (and Pool)

Accessible Bathroom by the Gym and Spa (and Pool)

Soaker Tubs in the Spa

Soaker Tubs in the Spa Area – Very Relaxing and Very Quiet. An easy place to transfer into water without everyone watching.

Although the room had a slight musty smell, this resort was immaculately clean and the staff could be seen cleaning around the clock.

The restaurants were all easy to get reservations for and the staff was absolutely amazing. They really went out of their way to make us feel welcome, without making us feel like they were doing it for tips. Even at the buffet, they always helped us find a table, carried trays for us and provided us with any beverage we asked for. The food was good, but not amazing.

There were a few market nights at the resort where you could buy souvenirs, etc. in a very relaxed atmosphere. There was nightly entertainment and several of the shows were quite well done.

Theatre for NIghtly Entertainment

Theatre for Nightly Entertainment

The grounds were beautiful and well-cared for. They had built-in loungers in the pool, which were so nice to lay on. The area where they were was quite shallow and a wheelchair user could bounce down into the water and then bounce up on to the loungers quite easily. There was always someone coming by asking if you needed a drink. The pool was cleaned every night.

You could go eat or drink at neighbouring Riu resorts for free (although this one was by far the nicest of the three).

There was free wi-fi in the lobby area. 

The beach could be accessed via a ramp onto the sand. Although they did not have a beach chair (for wheeling on the sand), they did offer to help us find one for rent. The sand was quite difficult to wheel on. You would likely need to have someone carry you onto a lounger on the sand or into the water if you wanted to take in the ocean. 

Beach Access

Beach Access

We enjoyed a cab ride to the flea market in Puerto Vallarta ($20 for about 20 minutes) and the people there were also great. Those in wheelchairs will have no trouble getting around there and there was lots to see and lots of good deals to be had. There was even a ramp to get up to the second floor where the washrooms were (it was steep, but it was there). We had no trouble getting around outside of the resort and felt completely safe walking around. 

THE BAD

One of the downsides for us was that the resort was quite small and when we wanted to walk, we felt like we were walking in circles. We are fairly active and like to have places to roam. The size of the resort wouldn’t be as much of an issue if you could walk down the beach but that wasn’t an option in the wheelchair.

There was no shower bench in our room, so we pulled one of the chairs in off the balcony and used that. 

The pool closed very early. The good thing was, they closed it so they could completely clean it every night, but sometimes it would have been nice to go for a soak after dinner.

The garden view room looked out onto an empty, dry field so it was not much of a view.

Garden View?

Garden View?

One of the biggest complaints we heard while at the resort was that the elevators were very slow and very small. This is absolutely true. Especially for wheelchair users, this got to be really annoying.

Another minor annoyance was that the main building was a U shape and there was only a ramp on one side. So rather than heading straight up to the buffet, you had to go up on the other side of the main building and then around. We used this as an excuse to eat more coconut ice cream when we were there as we felt we were getting extra exercise!

Ramp Side of Resort - The Other Side of the U Shape Only Has Stairs

Ramp Side of Resort – The Other Side of the U Shape Only Has Stairs

THE UGLY

The excursions offered by the hotel were not wheelchair accessible (one of the agents told us one was, and when the bus showed up the guide told us it was absolutely NOT accessible). Getting a refund was a huge hassle and when we returned home we found out one of the agents ripped off our credit card number to call some Mexican phone sex lines.

OVERALL

Overall, we loved this resort. As a rule, we don’t like going back to the same place twice but we would definitely recommend this resort to others, whether or not they are looking for wheelchair accessibility. 

Follow Papa Wheelie on WordPress.com