Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, contributing editor of The Compass

I Stayed There: Riu Cancun

The Vibe

“Margarita or piña colada?” was the first question I had to answer when I arrived at Riu Cancun. The modern lobby had the highest ceilings I’ve ever seen and everyone that passed by was smiling; There were spring breakers (like my travel companions and me), couples and families; the dynamic truly had no limits with something for everyone. When it came to the nightly shows, setting the scene is easy. From dancers, a cappella groups to classical performances from Queen, Shania Twain, Guns and Roses and other icons, the entertainment was worthwhile. Plus we could jump in with other hotel guests if we really wanted to.

How I Felt

Pampered. From the private balcony views, stellar service no matter the time and the local culture, my experience was astonishing, to say the least. The staff wanted nothing but a good time for us and made sure of it with every encounter, pampering us like royalty; topping off our margaritas, attentively clearing our plates, and always making time for Spanish lessons by the pool.

The Digs

With a view of the lagoon on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, the views were unmatched to anywhere else in the hotel zone. I had an ocean view from my private balcony and a fully stocked fridge and bathroom at all times. It had two queen-sized beds, a spacious interior and made me feel beyond comfortable.

The Agenda

My travel companions and I were the early birds that got the worm: the best spot at the pool. We’d soak up the sun at one of the three pools at the hotel before breakfast every day. Naturally, the infinity pool with a swim up bar was our favorite since it was a global experience where we met vacationers from Europe and even met fellow Wisconsinites. When we wanted to switch from tequila and foam parties to relaxing and reading a book, we headed to the pool with a hot tub where families hung out. If we wanted to switch it up again, then we went for the ocean to ride the waves and play beach volleyball.

The Eats

Don Juan was the buffet restaurant and was a perfect choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks any time of the day. For late night cravings, the sports bar had sandwiches and finger foods to hold us over. Coral was a poolside restaurant that served gazpacho, another name for cold soup that was honestly the best dinner I’ve ever had. La Toscana had a great Italian buffet and Kawachi was the spot for never-ending sushi and seafood.

Why I Would Go Back

The staff at Riu Cancun truly made us feel like we were all part of a tight-knit family, making sure we had everything we needed and that we had a good time with every turn, even if we were just walking through the lobby.

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