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Destination Decision: Hilton v.s. Melia v.s. Riu

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#1 ms.yuri@gmail.com

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    Posted 20 January 2010 - 10:10 PM

    Hi there! Just thought I'd type out some of my musings for this site, I'm finding it wonderfully helpful, thank you everyone!

    So, in trying to make a destination decision, I'm considering Hilton or an AI resort like Melia Cabo Real or Riu Palace. Here are few pros and cons for each, but as a disclaimer I am viewing these resorts with more of my guests in mind. One of the last things I want it is for the wedding to be overly burdensome to them in terms of cost.


    + Stunning place
    + Excellent service
    + Swimmable beach
    + about $180 per room and night, $230 for breakfast buffet, 2 people per night
    + Restaurant and hotel maybe less crowded than AI
    + Wedding Packages about 2,000 - 3,700.
    + Top Notch Vendors
    + Without all inclusive, more free to check out town and town food

    - Limited selection of pricey vendors
    - Pricey food and drinks
    - Does anyone know if they charge a day pass for outside guests?
    - More expensive for wedding party to cover food events there, i.e. rehearsal dinner and goodbye brunch.

    Melia Cabo Real:

    + Maybe all inclusive can help keep wedding party's cost down for food events? (Anyone know?)
    + Also on swimmable beach
    + Great rate for AI Resort, about $6-700 for 3 nights and 2 people. ($230 per night)
    + All inclusive drinks as well
    + Good Service

    - Hard beds
    - Prior need to make reservations at restaurants the day before because they get booked up.
    - May get crowded or noisy by pool or in restaurants

    + and - maybe it's more casual? :)
    + or - Modern Interior Design

    Riu Sante Fe

    + Possibly a nice balance between luxury and affordability
    + Riu Sante Fe has great rate, about $650-750 for three nights, 2 people. ($222 per night)
    + Accomodations can be more versatile in satisfying different types of guests because it's two hotels, Riu Palace is more luxurious and Sante Fe is more afforable.
    + Maybe it's less complicated with an all inclusive?

    - Not on swimmable beach
    - I think if you're at Sante Fe and wanting to get to the beach, there might not be direct access but you can through Riu Palace? (Not sure, but it's probably not hard anyway. I have to do more research for this one.)

    So, if any of you kind, knowledgable ladies have any suggestions or comments to add for the hotels' pros and cons list please write, thanks!
    (I collected many of these opinions from tripadvisor reviews.)

    #2 bnbrmy

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    • 218 posts

      Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:04 AM

      Hello Mrs. yuri!
      Okay we stayed at the Hilton in september. (We have also decided that to be the destination of our wedding.)
      As for them charging a day pass, I don't believe they do. We have been told, I think it may also be on their webside, that outside guests are welcome on their property. I haven't heard about a required day pass.
      When we went the ocean was really bad and we weren't really able to swim, there is a place off to the side that has rocks, blocking the bad waves, where we kinda splashed around and played in the waves. The waves were bad the whole week, so even though they say it is swimable, it wasn't for us. So you might want to consider that.
      1 thing I was happy about with the beach- okay you know how you have the locals that try to sell you blacelets, and random stuff? that will NOT leave you alone? They aren't bad at the Hilton. (I've heard they are really bad elsewhere) And when we went to the Arch there was about 100 people at the beach trying to sell us bags, jewelry, etc.
      Also when we went there may have been 20 other people staying at the hotel. They have two pools. a main one and another one off to the side. Everyone went to the main pool out front and we went over to the side pool for more seclusion, we had the whole pool to ourselves the entire time. I think 1 day there was another couple at the other end. So I don't think you will have a problem witth over crowding at the Hilton.

      I am working with Tathiana, the WC at Hilton and she is helping me out any way she can with the food and drinks for the reception (they are a little pricey) he food is amazing and well worth the price, it that puts you at ease any :)
      Also even though it isn't AI, we spent most of our time at the hotel. We left only to go to the Arch, swim w/ dolphins, mall, and to go to Todos Santos. We really had no reason to leave. The food was amazing, they had a little deli that doubled as a little convenient store. If there is anything you wanted to do outside of the hotel you can call front desk and they will call and make reservations for you and your party.

      We really loved it there. I've looked at some other resorts that are cheaper or are AI, but to be honest we can't imagine going anywhere else but the Hilton.

      I hope this helps a little bit. Good luck in your search!

      #3 mich999

      • Jr. Member
      • 386 posts

        Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:18 PM

        Hi Yuri - congrats on your engagement, you will find endless info here to help you plan! I am biased towards the Hilton, because I got married there and I think you have already found my review. The Hilton does not charge a day pass - those are only for AIs, so if guests are staying elsewhere, they don't have to pay to come in. I had one guest stay next door at the Melia Cabo Real. I didn't visit the Melia Cabo Real but overlooked it from my room - looked nice, a younger vibe, one night they had club music blaring by the pool, not as nice as the Hilton (IMO). I saw someone having a wedding reception right on the sand while we were there which looked pretty cool. We had another guests stay at the RIU Santa Fe for a few days before joining us at the Hilton. They loved it there, though they loved the Hilton more.

        As for ocean, when we were there in May, the flag never changed from red saying it was safe to swim in ocean - but I think the hotel does that to protect themselves. Many of my guests swam in the ocean, though you do have to be careful.

        The food is amazing at the Hilton. Everyone still raves about the meals there and we could not have been happier with our wedding meal. Choosing between an AI and non-AI, I think you've summed up the pros and cons nicely. Many brides on this forum love Dreams and RIU - I just wasn't interested in an AI. I figured we were taking care of dinner and drinks for people for Friday and Saturday night and all the guests got rooms which included breakfast, so they really only needed to plan for some snacks and dinner 1 or 2 nights repending on how long they came for. We had many in our group in which an AI would have been a waste because they don't drink much. For those that do, I think an AI would have been a better deal because the Hilton poolside drinks are expensive. But then I felt that it was up to each individual to decide how much they wanted to spend. That being said, there are a lot of package deals out there for AIs including airfare, so if you can find a good package deal an AI may end up being a better deal.

        Ultimately, we picked the Hilton because of the reviews on trip advisor, which were consistently excellent (I didn't find this forum until after I booked the HIlton), we just fell in love with it through pictures, it fit within our budget, we felt the rooms rates were reasonable compared to most other hotels (non-AIs) for the first class hotel experience in Cabo, and the Whale Watching Terrace at the Hilton. Like I said, I didn't really look at AIs, and I always experienced sticker shock when I looked at room rates. However, like I said, if you shop around and do your homework on them (which I did not), I definitely think AIs are more economical for the bride and groom and they don't have to break the bank for guests either. Good luck!!

        #4 BrieP

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          Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:49 PM

          Thanks for all the great information everyone :)

          I am also debating between RIU Santa Fe, RIU Palance and Melia and this forum has been a great help!

          #5 ms.yuri@gmail.com

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            Posted 22 January 2010 - 05:42 PM

            Thanks for input Brie P and Mich999! That was very helpful info about swimming and the food.

            Mich999, I like the way you put how it's up to the guest to decide how much a he/she would spend.... And everyone seems consistently impressed and supportive of Hilton which I think Mike and I like best too.

            Soooo, I think we're getting married at the Hilton! Woot Woot!!!

            #6 bnbrmy

            • Jr. Member
            • 218 posts

              Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:14 AM

              Congrats! You picked a great place :) I'm sure the other places are nice too.
              I meant to add in my last post that when we went they had a wedding there. I didn't see a ceremony, but FI and I went out on our balcony to watch the sun go down and have a few drinks and dessert, they were having their reception out in front of the pool. It looked beautiful! They had a lady singing(amazing voice!) while everyone was eating their dinner. The staff was dressed really nice. I'm sure the lucky couple were very happy with how things turned out.
              I was happy with how their night turned out and I wasn't even part of the event. hee hee :)

              Good luck with your planning. Best of luck for you and your family.

              #7 Connie C

              Connie C
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              • 19 posts

                Posted 29 January 2010 - 01:21 AM

                I got married at the Hilton in November and it was fabulous. It couldn't have been better. Two of our wedding guests went to another wedding at the Riu earlier in the week and they said our wedding was exponentially better. But, to be fair, the other wedding was really low budget. Our wedding was so fun and our guests enjoyed the hotel so much, some of us are actually planning on going back together again next November. I would highly recommend the Hilton.

                #8 kkanderson

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                  Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:31 PM

                  Im also thinking about the Hilton.

                  #9 Patti

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                    Posted 07 February 2010 - 12:22 AM

                    I got married at the Hilton, as well, on December 19, and Tathiana was my WC. She was wonderful to work with. I've been going to the Hilton in Cabo since 2002. I'm sure there are plenty of other nice hotels, but I've been so pleased with the Hilton that I have no reason to ever pick a different hotel. They keep me wanting to come back.

                    #10 Dmitri_Markine

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                      Posted 08 February 2010 - 07:32 PM

                      I can only comment on Riu and Hilton and Hilton wins
                      Good luck!

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