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RIU hotels & resorts probably don’t need to be introduced to you. During its almost 70-year history, this hotel chain has established itself in 21 countries on 4 continents.

The company was founded as a family business in 1953. They started their business with a small hotel named San Francisco on the Spanish island of Mallorca. It currently operates more than 100 hotels worldwide. Following its expansion into the Canary Islands, RIU began its internationalization as a chain in the 1990s with the grand opening of the Riu Taíno Hotel in Punta Cana. Today, in addition to Spain, RIU hotels can be found in Mexico, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Aruba, Cape Verde, Bahamas, Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, USA, Morocco, Germany, Ireland, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and, by 2020, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates..

Maspalomas Oasis 1967
Construction of the Maspalomas Oasis Hotel, today the RIU Palace Oasis, the first hotel in the Maspalomas area in 1967. (Photo: FEDAC)

As part of this internationalization, in 1993 the Riu family, which owns the chain, formed a partnership with its traditional German partner TUI AG, the largest travel agent in Europe. At present, TUI share in the company 50%. The business is run by the third generation of the family. More than 70% of resorts offer all-inclusive services.

The first hotel outside the island of Mallorca

In the 1980s, RIU began to expand into other destinations. The first hotel outside the Balearic Islands was opened in 1985 in Gran Canaria. The opening of the new Riu Palmeras was a successful step at the time, as the Canary Islands are now one of RIU’s main destinations with more than 20 hotels.

Luis Riu on Canary Islands
Luis Riu and his team in Gran Canaria

At that time, only 25-year-old Luis Riu was behind the expansion of the brand to the Canary Islands. He currently holds the position of CEO of RIU and manages the areas of expansion, marketing and operations. His instinct and passion was already noticed by his father, so he allowed him to devote himself to expansion into the Canary Islands. Today, he is behind a large part of the projects carried out by the chain.

As the expansion outside his native Mallorca began in Gran Canaria, let’s take a brief look at the 8 RIU hotels on the island.

RIU Palace Oasis *****

This hotel is the oldest hotel in the Maspalomas area. It was built in 1968. However, it did not become the property of RIU until 1998. In April to October 2019, the hotel underwent a complete renovation. Thanks to it, the hotel has acquired a new type of rooms with direct access to a private pool, the so-called swim-up rooms. Two separate buildings with additional rooms have been added to the hotel garden. The hotel currently has 415 rooms. Of all the hotels, it is located closest to the beach. The hotel’s garden provides direct access to Maspalomas Beach.

RIU Palace Palmeras ****

This hotel was the first to be operated by RIU outside Mallorca. Its construction took place between 1984 and 1985. It underwent the last reconstruction in 2019. At that time, a new building was added to the hotel in the hotel garden. At the same time, however, the bungalows previously offered as a separate RIU Palmitos resort were removed. Today, the hotel has 274 rooms and offers all-inclusive services 24 hours a day.

RIU Don Miguel ***

It is the only RIU hotel in Gran Canaria with an adults-only attribute. The hotel building was built in 1974. The company RIU has been operating the hotel since 1990. The last reconstruction took place in 2012. Accommodation is provided to guests in 281 rooms. It is very popular for its location in the center of Playa del Inglés.

RIU Papayas ****

The construction of the RIU Papayas followed immediately after the opening of the RIU Palmeras. Originally, the building has been operated as two separate hotels since 1986 under the names RIU Papayas and RIU Flamingo. The two buildings were connected by connecting corridors on each floor and had a shared swimming pool. Renovated in 2016, the hotel was reopened under the name RIU Papayas. Today it offers accommodation in 468 modern rooms in all inclusive mode 24 hours.

RIU Palace Maspalomas ****

Located right on the edge of the Maspalomas Dunes Nature Reserve, we can rightly rank it among the iconic hotels in Playa del Inglés. Probably every visitor to Gran Canaria, who went to see the beauty of the sand dunes, passed through the passage of the hotel. The hotel was built in 1989. Another of the visions of Luis Luis Rio was already evident in its creation. It was opened as the first hotel in the concept of a “palace” and became a model for the construction of other RIU Palace hotels around the world. It was last renovated in 2003. Its 368 rooms offer magnificent views of the dunes and the ocean and incredible genius loci.

RIU Palace Meloneras *****

In 1996, the RIU hotel family was enriched by the first hotel in the Meloneras area. RIU Palace Meloneras was built in the spirit of the already mentioned concept of “palace” hotels, where the main building consists of a central part with two wings surrounding the hotel garden. In addition to a large garden, 515 rooms are available to visitors. The hotel underwent a complete renovation in 2014.

RIU Gran Canaria ****

Next to the RIU Palace Meloneras, a new 4 * hotel RIU Gran Canaria was built in 2000. Already during the construction, the intention to turn the hotel into a family hotel was taken. A large part of the garden, especially for children, is adapted to this. The hotel underwent a major renovation in 2013, since then its 639 rooms offer clients 24-hour all-inclusive services.

RIU Vistamar ****

Hotel RIU Vistamar is the youngest hotel in Gran Canaria. It is also the only hotel not located in the Playa del Inglés – Maspalomas area. Its location on a cliff above Amadores Bay makes this hotel an interesting landmark in the whole of Puerto Rico area. All 475 rooms have ocean views. Despite its somewhat eccentric location, it became a popular family hotel immediately after opening in 2003. The hotel’s bus takes guests to the nearest beach, the beautiful Playa Amadores. The hotel underwent its last renovation in 2017 and provides its all-inclusive services 24 hours a day.

Finally, I must mention another hotel. To this day, it is known as Waikiki. The hotel with its interesting circular architecture is located next to the RIU Papayas. It was part of the RIU network until 2015. At that time, it is provided by the Servatur network.

RIU hotels Masplaomas
RIU hotels in Maspalomas and Meloneras (1) RIU Palace Oasis, (2) RIU Palace Meloneras, (3) RIU Gran Canaria (map: Google maps)

So much in short about the eight RIU hotels in Gran Canaria. Not only from customer reviews, but also from my own experience, I can recommend these hotels for your holidays in Gran Canaria. In all hotels you will find a high standard of service in the spirit of the RIU concept, helpful and friendly staff and rooms with equipment that are sure to meet the requirements of even the most demanding clients.

RIU hotels Puerto Rico

RIU hotels map in Puerto Rico (1) RIU Vistamar (map: Google maps)

If you are interested in more detailed information or reservations, you can feel free to contact me. Gran Canaria Travel is a direct partner of the RIU hotels & resorts network, which will ensure you the best prices on the market. You can send your questions and requests to or whatsapp +34 635 232 849.

(unmarked photos: RIU hotels & resorts)

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RIU hotels Playa del Ingles

Map of RIU hotels in Playa del Inglés area (1) RIU Papayas, (2) RIU Don Miguel, (3) RIU Palace Palmeras, (4) RIU Palace Maspalomas (map: Google maps)

Martin Smolen

One Reply to “History of RIU hotels in Gran Canaria”

  1. Great Article .Most interesting particularly as we have been clients of Grand Canary over 50 years
    Our Favourite always OASIS PALACE – first visit..
    We did visit LOPESAN a few times but always came back to RIU.
    Have stayed in Riu Playa dIngles when OASIS under reconstruction .
    We come twice yearly
    Coming again in Jan to Playa dIngles this time as stayed in Oasis in May of this year!


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“We are incredibly proud to be Canaries,” Alfredo, the owner of a small restaurant in Playa del Inglés, once told me when I was visited Gran Canaria. “There are the most beautiful beaches with the most beautiful sand with the most incredible waves. On the shore are the most beautiful hotels, promenades and cafes. The island is home to the most hospitable people. Grow the tastiest tomatoes, the sweetest bananas, the most fragrant roses. We will make the best wines here and the cuisine is also the best.”

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