Riu Playa Blanca
- What's Included
- All Inclusive Features
For a full 7 days I have to say the service was fantastic, the area was well maintained and lots of variety for food... considering this is an old resort the Riu picked up and restored... it's a hidden JemThe rooms were large, cleaned and modern styled. Can't bead the refreshments in the room and a stocked refrigerator included. To add you could always get more bottled water at the reception. Got upgraded to a suite for our wedding and wow. Amazing!!!Best advice and obviously be armed and ready with some Spanish. It helps. Outside of the regular tourist realm you definitely need to know Spanish. The choice of the steak house, Japanese, Italian or just good buffet style common area all had some hidden Jems. Steak and seafood options great and cooked to perfections. Although some people just can't be satisfied you just have to look for something you like as a individual.Although the Riu Hato location is about 2 hours outside Panama City the area is fortunate enough to have its own airport which conveniently takes you 10 minutes from the hotel and 15 minutes from the nearest town. We golfed at the Bouna Venture golf club at the nearby Marriot. A long and challenging course nestled among trees and villas. If your not a long hitter be prepared for a 6 hour round.We did a trip to Panama City with Adventure tour 2000 and our tour guide was not only entertaining we also entertained him. He was very knowledgeable able it the area and the history of the country... Panama City, new and old, is a must see... many attractions from the old city, shopping, food, entertainment, the Panama Canal was mind blowing. Our wedding planner Eda was on the ball and did an amazing job helping us execute our wedding day.Another must visit is the near by Anton Valley.... many many things to do and get lost there in the create of an extinct volcano.Last all I have to say is in 10 to 15 years from now I how to be on my way back and owning a property there.Splendid experienceNick S
This resort seems to cater to the local folks in Panama and maybe their neighbouring countries. Not much english spoken here. Service in restaurants was horrible. Pools were overcrowded and dirty. Food was comparable to a 3-star in Cuba. As a smoker my husband was banished to almost the beach area (a good long walk). Apparently this is a country law. The beach was awful, sand very dark and gritty and water very dark - we did not sit on beach nor go into the water. Room had some major issues in which I am hoping the hotel steps up to address so I will not mention them here in this review. There is not much around the hotel - very expensive day trips where you spend most of your time on the bus getting to and from your destination. I've been to many many resorts - and I would rate this one as a tops a 3 star but likely a 2 star.
If you are a smoker, enjoy good food, want to host a destination wedding or don't speak Spanish this resort is not for you! Traveled November 4 - 11, 2016 for a destination wedding.Room - Our room is probably the one thing from this trip I can say I was genuinely happy with. It was clean and very spacious. DO NOT FALL for the ocean view upgrade, ALL of the rooms at the resort face the ocean. The hotel is built in a U shape.Restaurants - I would compare the food at this resort to the food in Cuban resorts. Very bland and flavourless. I was highly disappointed because Riu's are known for having great food. They have Tobasco at every restaurant, you'll need it. This is the first resort that I have been to that does not take reservations for the specialty restaurants. This leaves you waiting for a table for at least half an hour, if not longer. We required a table for 20 people a couple of the evenings and organizing it wasn't easy. We tried the steak house and the Italian restaurant. Didn't get to try the Asian restaurant as it was closed for half of the week with no explanation. Skip the Italian, stick to the buffet and Steak House for dinner.Service - Can't say I had any bad experiences with service other than the fact that most staff don't speak very much English. Most tourists on this resort are local Panamanians and Central Americans.Location - Resort is only about a 10 minute drive from the Rio Hato airport. If you are landing in Panama City, it's 2 hours. There is nothing within walking distance of the hotel, you have to take a taxi if you'd like to leave the property. There is a grocery store called Super 99 that is about a 5 minute cab ride from the resort, spend the $5 USD per person and take the trip over there as there is no duty free at the Rio Hato airport when you are leaving. Alcohol is super cheap at Super 99.Bars - There is one 24 hour bar which is the Sports Bar. The 'snack food' is repulsive. There is no bar on the beach which is incredibly inconvenient. Bring a large drinking container to prevent having to get up every half an hour. Closest bar to the beach is the pool bar and it doesn't open until 10:30 am.Beach - two words: no bueno! The water is very dark and murky. The beach itself isn't anything special, sand is very hot but that's expected. All beaches in Panama are public so local sales people are constantly on the beach selling souvenirs and horse rides. I must say though, in comparison to other countries like Jamaica they are not aggressive at all. They set up shop and wait for people to come to them. There are PLENTY of beach chairs, never had any issues obtaining one. Entertainment - only one night the evening show was interactive, and if you don't speak Spanish good luck trying to figure out what's going on. The shows, and the resort in general is very much geared to locals and Spanish speaking tourists. Destination Wedding - the bride wanted to get married on greenery instead of the beach which she stated months in advance. We learned the day before the wedding when we met the wedding planner for the first time that greenery meant a patch of grass in a very heavily populated area of the resort and there was no other option. She ended up moving the ceremony to the lobby bar where we would get more privacy. The wedding officiant did not speak English well and had an accent that was almost impossible to understand. The reception was held at the Italian restaurant - they served us the same food they serve every other night of the week to the hotel guests. This resort definitely does not have much experience in planning weddings, it was beyond obvious. I highly recommend NOT to host your destination wedding here.We assumed we would have a designated room for all of the ladies to get dressed together/take pictures. We learned the day before the wedding that this resort did not offer a wedding suite of any sort. We asked to use a room that was vacant for a couple of hours but were told we would have to pay a fee. Why? The hotel wasn't in high season, more than half of the rooms at the resort were vacant. Tips: ensure you bring plenty of bug spray and Afterbite. The mosquitos and sand flies are hungry. Grab a water taxi from the Water Sports Centre for $10 USD per person and head over to one of the three beach bars that are only a 5 minute boat ride away. Our lunch at Pipa's Bar & Restaurant was the highlight of this trip. If you haven't seen the Panama Canal before, it's worth the day tour.You need EXACTLY $15 USD to exit the country. They don't give change (even for a 20 dollar bill) which is bizarre. Considering this resort is part of the Riu chain and we paid $1300 person this place was a HUGE disappointment. I stayed at the Royal Decameron (also in Panama) a couple of years ago for a fraction of the cost, much better experience overall!
RIU has definitely seen the reviews because they have stepped their game up. We went Nov 18-25 (Friday to Friday). We read negative reviews about service, staff, food, locals, language etc. NONE of that was an issue, and literally i mean none. I don't know why everyone was complaining about this resort.. like relax.. if you don't have bacon for a day find something else. There was plenty of options and the food was nothing different than other RIUs we have visited. Ignore the reviews, and just relax and have fun. Honestly the rooms are nice, the staff is so nice and we had such a good experience (eight of us ranging from 25-60) ! If you are looking for a vacation and aren't picky about whether they have scrambled, fried or over easy eggs you will enjoy this resort. (Even though they have all type of eggs)We also read that there were lot of locals and kids.. that was not a lie... there are a lot..like A LOT.. you will 100% see more locals than people from other countries.. its peak season people.. what do you expect? To be the only one here.. no way jose. The bar pool I am pretty sure is designated for adults and if kids go there they aren't allowed to splash etc. We watched the lifeguard tell the kids to go into another pool or stop splashing and swimming laps constantly in the bar pool. It was pretty nice to see actually. But we only saw that once.. after that day the kids were running wild and it was actually pretty annoying. Seeing more kids on my vacation than my classroom at home was not my idea of relaxing. This is definitely a hotel NOT for older people, couples, etc. I literally would say this hotel would be extremely fun for families as there are more kids than adults. But if you are looking for a relaxing, kid free, quiet, hotel... i would search elsewhere.. this isn't the hotel for that. KID OVERLOAD.. and not in a good way. AIRPORT:When you arrive you have to go through Panama customs where you give a form you should have filed out on the plane, than collect your bags, than your bag goes through a scanner. After that you find your bus and if you landed in Rio Hato its about a 7 minute drive to the hotel.. if you landed in Panama you're looking at around 2 hours to the hotel. Leaving- YOU NEED $15USD per person in CASH to leave the country. So make sure you save this before you spend all your money.Also the airport has ZERO places to buy anything.. there is actually a little vending machine but thats it. No food, no souveniors, no duty free etc. So buy what you need BEFORE you go to the airport to depart back home. There is also wifi in the airport for free! CHECK IN:So easy, you don't go to the front desk. There have a little desk where they have all your stuff ready for you (towel cads, room keys, map etc). Super easy. HOTEL:-Free Wifi ONLY in the lobby and in the restaurants NOT in the rooms, pool or beach. If you want internet outside the lobby you have to pay $6USD an hour, $12USD a day, $30USD for 3 days and $40USD for a week.-Mini Mart in the hotel that sells sunscreen, snacks, etc -Gift shop in the hotel too -Live music at like 830 at night to 930, the show from 930-1030 than live music again after that-Disco opens at 11-2am.. open every night except Monday -Nice little surprise they had fireworks at like 7 and 10 pm over the beach one day! -Bathrooms in the steakhouse bar and in the lobby as well as by the sport bar- bathrooms all reek of garbage. We used those bathrooms regularly when we weren't in the room and they are smell so disgusting. Like a musty rotting garbage smell. STAFF:Super friendly - read about a language barrier from other reviews but that didn't seem to really be an issue at all, anywhere we went on the resort including front desk staff to food staff as well as cleaning services. Everyone was also fast to say Good morning, Ola, etc. ROOM:-Rooms are super nice and modern, we had a king size bed, balcony ( Courtyard view- but you can still see the ocean). -We had a view of the stage and could watch shows form our room. -Fridge had Sprite, Club Soda, Coke, Diet Coke and Orange pop, water and a couple beers stocked in the fridge (stocked every 2 days).-Iron, hangers and safe in room (NO robes)BATHROOM:Had shampoo, conditioner & soap as well as a hair dryer.-Tap water is NOT drinkable safe. (Says so on a sticker on the mirror)-Our room 4026 did not have a bath tub, just a shower. POOL: There are 3 pools and one little kids play area pool so basically 4.-The first pool had the swim up bar, and beds in the pool. Probably the biggest pool here since the bar is the main attraction. T-The second and third pool are much smaller - one is dedicated solely for older adults and is quiet (didn't see that written anywhere just observation). One pool is solely kids (not talking about the play area)- this pool is where all the entertainment is from the RIU staff. We sat at this pool once and HATED it. Kids were splashing and parents were doing nothing about it. I could have bopped like 4 kids in the face but didn't want to go to jail. RIU if you are reading this you should have dedicated pools.. while in the swim up pool bar I don't want kids splashing me... Its annoying and not my idea of a fun vacation. -The kids pool had slides, water sprays, water bucket etc-lots of games for kid BEACH:-Sand is not your typical white beach, clear water. Its dark water and dark/ black sand.-There are vendors on the beach but they don't harass you or anything they just stay where they have set up shop-The vendors have things like magnets, hats, bags, bracelets etc.. basic souvernior style stuff- cheap prices. Got magnets for $2 which we thought was good.-Tons of beach chairs and lots of shade + sun. You can sit under a palm tree for shade but lots of area for sun.-Wild dogs, not harmful -People renting horses out for ride-Mosquitos when sun goes down - so bring the spray!GYM:-Super small on the main floor as the lobby by the gift shop-Couple treadmills and a couple elipticals -One weight machine.-Believe that it is 24 hours.EXCURSIONS:They actually only offered only like 10 different excursions. -Parasailing, Panama city tours, boat tours etc. There wasn't even a booze cruise nothing like that. And what sucks is that most of these are a 2 hour drive there and 2 hour drive back so they are like all day trips. -We did the day trip to Panama.. but not through Sunwing/Signature/Nexus (whatever its called). We did it through a taxi driver at the front and it worked out to be soooo much cheaper. The hotel was charing $120USD per person for a drive to the city, a tour, lunch and a drive back. For 8 of us the driver was charging up $250USD for the transportation and tour, we buy our own lunch. Literally saved over $500 doing it this way. ALSO *** On the airplane Sunwing/ Signature will try to sell you excursions claiming that its cheaper because you get a 10% discount and its priced in Canadian dollars so you save so much more than if you buy it at the hotel. NOT TRUE. The Sunwing book on the plane has inflated their prices so its basically even. I know this 100% because we were looking at the Panama tour and the plane was offering it for $138CAD and the hotel was offering it for $105USD. So it basically works out to be pretty even. So I would recommend purchasing your excursions through the hotel and NOT the airplane service because the hotel staff know more about the excursion times, what to bring, all the details etc whereas the plane people don't know as much. SHOWS:-80s night Dance show which was pretty good! Shows start at 930-1030 than there is live music for an hour after that -Grease (didn't watch it, so cant speak to the star rating of the show)-RIU talent show-RIU dance party-RIU dance video party DRINKS: -Lots of choice, there is a drink menu. I don't like drinks where I can taste the alcohol so its really hard for me to find a drink. So what I have been getting here is Banana Mama (strawberry/ banana I think.. uh thats what it taste like anyways) and the Dirty Monkey (banana and chocolate) another good alternative for healthier people is vodka soda and bring MIO or those little flavour drops and you can pop some in to get some nice flavour, get drunk but not taste the alcohol :) YOUR WELCOME. They also have ceasers here with Clamato and not Tomato juice. FOOD:*wifi in all restaurants** -Lots of mosquitos at night especially by the steak house- so spray bug spray before you go.Balboa (main restaurant for breakfast and dinner) -Selection was good, typical buffet selection (breads, meat, fruits, eggs, cereal, hot servings, coffee etc).Steak House * No reservations for the a la carte restaurants more of a first come first serve type of deal- Opens at 645- So good!!! The food was delicious and the service was amazing! Served shrimp, bread, mozzarella sticks to start than you select your entree from filet mignon, chicken, fish etc, than they come with different sides such as broccoli, onion rings, potato wedges, corn on the cob etc, as well as different sauces and a dessert to finish it all off. I think the choices were apply strudel with vanilla ice cream, cheesecake with berry or a mango pie or something like that. Food was delicious!Xina (Chinese Restaurant)-Buffet style for the whole restaurant-Not our favourite-Didn't like the food or the food selectionItalian- Appetizers is buffet style, as well as dessert.- You order your main course, there is alredo pasta with shrimp, steak, salmon etc. -Really good!! We actually really liked this hotel.- Apps were pizza, spaghetti, soup, salad, etc.. lots of different choices! Please feel free to message me if you have any further questions! :)
Stayed at the Riu Playa Blanca from November 11 to 18. Being first time in Panama not sure what to expect. Loved the hotel, food and people. Our rooms were clean and very comfortable. Decor quite modern throughout the hotel. Lots of seating in lobby and lobby bar. Pools very nice, especially the sports pool. Beaches not the best but quite nice for walks during low tide. Food choice great at main buffet. A la carte restaurants not the best. Japanese ok but Steak house was disappointing. Entertainment was not great. The disco on the weekend was great, however. Good music and dancing. Very enjoyable! Airport was only 10 mins away which is a bonus. Pre-packed sandwiches and salads from the Sports bar was great for take away to day trips and to the airport. Trip to Panama Canal and Panama City was very good. Our guide, Onelia, was funny and knowledgeable. Despite being the rainy season we had nice weather. Would definitely be back and would recommend.
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- 3 Meals daily plus 24-hour snacks
- All drinks 24-hour (domestic beer and cocktails, select international brands, house wine with meals )
- Daily activities
- Introductory scuba lesson in pool
- Non-motorized water sports
- Evening entertainment
- Welcome cocktail
- Unlimited International drinks
- In-room liquor dispenser
- Unlimited dining at a specialty restaurants
- In-room mini bar re-stocked regularly
- In-room safe
- 20% discount on select excursions booked with Signature
- Signature Hour from 4 - 5 p.m.
- Free Wi-Fi in the lobby (90 min/per day)
- Spa credit available (applies to selected treatments, may vary per hotel)
- 573 Rooms
- 2 Pools
- Kids pool
- Kids Club
- 4 Restaurants
- 5 Bars
- Conference Room (fee)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi in lobby for 90 consecutive minutes daily
- Concierge Desk
- Tour Desk
- Beauty Salon (fee)
- Non-Motorized water sports
- Golf (fee) (nearby)
- Air Conditioned
- Ceiling Fan
- Hair Dryer
- Safety Deposit Box
- Satellite TV
- Mini Bar
- Balcony or Terrace
- Liquor Dispenser
- Vanity Mirror
- May or may not include sofa or sofa bed
- Maximum Occupancy 4; Maximum Number of Adults 3
Honeymoon Bonus - Surprise welcome gift in your room, King-size bed, Late check-out, and Complimentary upgrade to next available room class. Request at time of booking. Proof of marriage required. Subject to availability and subject to change.
Early Booking Bonus - This hotel may offer early booking bonuses at certain times of the year. If early booking bonuses apply to your vacation, prices shown online have already been adjusted accordingly. Please inquire for complete details.
Resort Location Map
Riu Playa BlancaPanama,Panama
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Finca 43.668 Playa Blanca - Provincia de Cocle, Rio Hato 0213 Panama
Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.
Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.
Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.
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