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Riu Playa Blanca

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Stay at the Riu Playa Blanca in Panama and enjoy world-class hospitality services, white sand beach and a fabulous 24-hour all inclusive plan including limitless international drinks. Guests have access to a variety of water sports and daily activities, as well as a fully-equipped fitness centre. Dine a la carte at one of the specialty restaurants, relax under a palapa on the beach and let the kids burn off energy in the Kids Club!

Location: Beachfront at Playa Blanca. 150 km from Panama City airport.

tripadvisor Traveler Reviews
  • Roshan R : Toronto, Canada
Not one of my good AI vacations....

My family and another family (7 adults - 3 rooms) booked with Sunwing for an AI vacation at Riu Playa Blanca in the second week of October 2017. We had a few issues during our stay at the hotel and will write about the more important issues.Issue 1At the time of the booking we ensured with the Sunwing rep in Toronto, to make notes that one of the passengers had walking difficulty and required a room close to the elevators. The following day Sunwing sent us an email confirming this request. When we arrived at the hotel they gave us a room (for the passenger with special needs) in the east wing far from the elevators, with a considerable walking distance. The hotel and Sunwing promised that in the next 2 days they will change the room and to remedy the situation for the time being they provided us with a wheelchair. On the 3rd day they gave us a room close to the elevators but with 2 single beds and sofa bed for 3 adults. Since none of that family could fit into the sofa bed we had to decline the offer. The hotel/Sunwing did not do anything to fix this situation and in particular the reception (Lüber and the reception manager) was not helpful at all. They said all rooms by the elevators are furnished that way. Meanwhile I read prior TA reviews of guests mentioning triple and suites in the main building with full beds. The family stayed in the same room until our return (7 nights) using the wheelchair provided to us. We had to endure this arrangement with a degree of discomfort. If I was informed of the hotel NOT being able to provide this special need at the time of booking, I would've walked away and looked for a another hotel/vacation provider. The hotel/Sunwing needs to improve their provisioning for guests with disability/mobility problems.Issue 2One of the rooms provided for 2 adult siblings had a single bed and a sofa bed. One of the occupant developed a back pain sleeping in the sofa bed until their room was changed 3 days later. Again the hotel/Sunwing needs to know that they cannot provide child accommodations to an adult.The bar/restaurant staff were very friendly provided good service. However, the food at the main buffet restaurant was mediocre. They had the same meat/fish everyday and had bacon/sausage/shrimp/goat only once the week. Only the Italian stood out of the 3 à la carte restaurants. I've had better food served at less reputed AI hotels. Riu is not up to it's reputation in Playa Blanca.During our stay at the hotel we noticed many sub-standards in food, customer relations etc., and makes one wonder if it's due to the hotel opening up to the local market. By lowering Riu standards for the local guest market, the hotel is compromising their 5 star rating and the international guest market. While talking about the local market, I read some reviews in TA about rude locals. well, the locals should learn a thing or two about common curtesy and good manners.The recreational staff mostly speak Spanish and don't even greet when they pass you in the corridors.Paid Wi-Fi works throughout the resort, even at the beach. Free Wi-Fi is limited to the lobby area.Rooms were cleaned/restocked on a daily basis and is a commendable housekeeping service. The 3 rooms we got for the group was situated at the east wing with balconies facing the marsh/bog (east). The view was very unpleasant and during rainy days the stench was unbearable. I'm not sure about the west facing rooms in the west wing. The inner (courtyard) facing rooms might be a better choice.We have to accept the beach for what it is, volcanic black sand with murky waters. Low tide is the best time for a dip. The pools were moderate sized and adequate for the crowd. The good news is that someone listened to the reviews here about lack of washrooms by the pools. The hotel just finished building new washrooms by the east pool.We made prior arrangements over emails with R&E transfers for our 2 excursions to Anton valley, canal and city tour. They gave us excellent rates and services. Special commendation to Donald at the service desk and our guide Rafael to the canal and city tour. We had a great city tour and a superb lunch at the Diablicos restaurant close to the old city thanks to Rafael. The Ceviche served here was so delicious. Anton valley tour was refreshing and a great opportunity to absorb nature.Definitely will not return and have serious doubts about visiting other Riu resorts...

  • pookie_dimples : Memphis, Tennessee
Never again!!

My visit to this Panama hotel was pretty terrible! The check-in process was easy and lobby staff was friendly and helpful. The lobby restrooms, sports bar and nightclub smelled terribly bad of sewer or something. The room was neat and clean but very bland. I saw a dead bug under the dresser. The beds and pillows weren't comfortable at all. The bathroom fogged terribly bad whenever we showed, sweating the walls, floor and door - which I found to be gross. Had to always ask for face towels since this wasn't a standard as part of the bathroom towels left. Housekeeping was always nice when we asked for some and began leaving them without us asking. The resort appeared to be where locals came for vacation. It was FULL of locals! Children stayed free here so there were pleeeeeeenty of them! And EVERYWHERE! Even up at the pool swim-up bar and lobby bar. The pool water had a nasty film on it. I never smelled any chlorine, at all. So Im sure it wasn't very clean. And with the restrooms far away I'm sure it was full of urine. Getting pool lounge chairs was a struggle at times because there were so many people there. No pool walk around service. We were told by an employee that there were an unusual amount of people visiting for this time of year so the services had been cut back a bit because there wasn't enough staff to make it happen. The food was a major let down. The international buffet appeared to cater to Spanish people. The options for American tourist were very few. We had to eat at the outdoor steak house every night and be eaten up by mosquitoes in the process - just to eat a decent meal. The Italian restaurant was pretty decent. I often starved until dinner everyday. I want to warn you about the mosquitoes - they were unreal, unbearable and didnt seem to care about OFF. I definitely wouldn't call this hotel a resort as it did not live up to those standards. The service was just okay. Very few of the staff were accommodating and wanted to make sure you were enjoying your stay. I was quite confused about the process for entering the hotel, buffet and pools because I often saw people without wristbands eating in the buffet and in the pools. That was pretty frustrating as it almost seems like any person off of the street could come in, use the pools and eat for free. The only nice part was Uzziel (sp?) at the Lobby Bar - he was very nice, friendly and made sure we enjoyed our drinks and Orlando at an off from the hotel place to eat called Coco Blue! I definitely wouldn't suggest spending your money visiting this hotel. It doesn't appear to be a place where the American tourist is even considered as a targeted visitor. Go visit elsewhere!!

  • Michael Roy K : Lake Wales
A Good Time But Room For Improvement

The resort makes an effort to be top level but falls just short. We had a standard room that was large enough and was kept very clean by the staff. The minimalist industrial format with its all white paint, furniture, and flooring along with gray highlights did not give the warmest feel. Our room had the comfortable king bed, 2 nightstands, a 4 drawer dresser and a table with 2 chairs. A comfortable chair would be a major improvement. We were unable to control the temperature of the room and we had to contend with much colder temps than we experience. We tried adjusting the thermostat and even talked to the front desk about the temperature. Nothing worked. The minibar was stocked every other day. A liquor dispenser cabinet in the room was a nice touch. The food was generally good but was mainly targeted for South and Central American clients. We were able to find food that does work for the American taste, but the choices were a little limited. However to be fair, it did not seem that the American tourist was their target audience. The buffet room could use some sound deadening treatments. The ribeye at the steakhouse was very good. While we were there a "sewer gas like" smell permeated the Asian, Italian, sports bar, lobby restrooms and lower floor restrooms. But on the plus side, most of the staff was very friendly. The bartenders greatly appreciate the tips and made sure that we enjoyed our drinks. Highly suggest giving the staff tips. The grounds were well kept. A little concerned that there was not a restroom situated in the pool area. It was a journey from the pool to the restroom in the lunch buffet building. There was adequate seating by the pools and the covered area beneficial. There were lots of locals and children. The water sports staff was very helpful and friendly. We did have a message and was very happy with the service and quality. The discount we received with our package, the price was closer to "market". We would rate this resort higher than the RIU in Costa Rica. We enjoyed our stay but do see room for improvement.

  • magicpowers05 : Memphis, Tennessee
Throw the entire hotel away

Rui should remove their name off this hotel. The hotel is full of locals and children. The drinks are watered down. Children are allowed in the bars and bar areas. The beach was dirty and so was the pool. This was a girls trip from hell due to this hotel. The food was not good. Nothing about this hotel says resort or welcome. The spa is outside, the steak house is outside and the mosquitoes are unreal and unbearable. Also the staff is cleaning all day but the hotel still stinks! My girls and I were ready to go as soon as we got there but had to spend 5 more nights in this horrible hotel. The only reason I'm giving this hotel one start is because of Emanuel that works at the front desk and the bartender Ulyssess (sp) that works in the lobby bar. We had to leave the resort to get some real food at a place called COCO BLUE. If you go ask for Orlando he is awesome and everything is made fresh. If anyone is planning a trip to Panama please skip over this hotel. My money was not well spent with this hotel.

  • Rowerboy15 :
Great Family Trip

Great weather, great food, great accommodation and great family fun. We have 2 young children 5 and 8 years of age. The splash pool and water slides are such a big bonus. The recreational staff are out of this world. I would say they made our trip! Beach is long and great for walks. We didn't go in past our ankles do to waves but the resort has plenty of pools. The other bonus is the new airport is only a 10 drive away. Loved Panama!

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

RIU�-topia bonus:

  • 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
  • Shops
  • Conference Room (fee)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi in lobby for 90 consecutive minutes daily
  • Concierge Desk
  • Tour Desk
  • Beauty Salon (fee)
  • Non-Motorized water sports
  • Gym 
  • Golf (fee) (nearby)
Garden View Room:
  • Air Conditioned
  • Ceiling Fan
  • Hair Dryer
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Satellite TV
  • Mini Bar
  • Balcony or Terrace
  • Liquor Dispenser
  • Telephone
  • Vanity Mirror
  • Bathroom
  • May or may not include sofa or sofa bed
  • Maximum Occupancy 4; Maximum Number of Adults 3
Kids Deals - Children under 2 stay and eat FREE. Children 2-12 yrs pay special rates when sharing a room with 2 paying adults. Max 2 children per room.

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 Blanca

  • Hotel Contacts
  • Extra Info
  • Disclaimer
Hotel Riu Playa Blanca
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.

Special requests are subject to availability upon check-in. Special requests cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges upon check-in to fulfil.

Hotels do not condone unruly behavior, parties in rooms, excessive noise or any other actions that violate the hotels terms of use. Guests may be removed from the property at their own expense in the event of any disturbance or complaint from other guests or hotel staff. cannot be held responsible for any guests who may be removed from the hotel due to a violation of rules. makes every effort to ensure that the information on this page is accurate, however, all information on this page is subject to change without notice. is not responsible for any changes, errors or omissions that may occur.