The Riu family bought their first hotel – the Riu San Francisco – on Playa de Palma in Mallorca in November 1953 as a small holiday company. Today, the international hotel chain RIU has 96 hotels in 20 countries. Further new openings such as on Mauritius, Jamaica and in Chicago are planned for the coming year. Work is also progressing on a 350-room Riu Plaza Hotel in Toronto, Canada. And in New York, RIU recently acquired a strategically located property directly on Broadway and close to Central Park.
It reads like a family saga: in 1953, Juan Riu and his wife Maria Bertrán and their son Luis Riu used all the money they had saved to buy a hotel with 80 beds. With their first project, which they called the “shoebox” because of its shape, the Riu family laid the foundations for the success of one of Spain’s largest hotel chains. They dedicated themselves to tourism with passion and hard work. Luis Riu proves to be a visionary during these years. He relied on charter flights from Germany and travelled to Wuppertal to plan the first package tours to Mallorca together with the pioneer of German package tourism, Dr Hubert Tigges from Wuppertal. The family acquires more hotels on Mallorca.
Expansion outside Spain
In 1985, the Spanish family business moves to the Canary Islands. The first hotel in the Dominican Republic follows in 1991. After the death of father Luis in 1998, siblings Carmen Riu and Luis Riu Güell take over the family empire in the third generation. While Carmen is responsible for finances and administration, Luis scrutinises new locations and takes care of renovations and expansion. In 2010, Riu ventured into the world’s metropolises with the Riu Plaza line in Panama. Milestones for the family business include the opening of the Riu Plaza Espana in the Spanish capital Madrid and the Riu Plaza New York Times Square in the centre of Manhattan.
RIU in Asia for the first time
In 2016, the hotel chain is putting out feelers to Asia. The Riu Sri Lanka opens. In the same year, the company buys two islands in the Dhaalu Atoll in the Maldives with a 100-year lease. In 2017, construction begins on the company’s most logistically complex project, for which 120 million euros are invested. Two islands will be connected by concrete pillars in the seabed: On one side of the 800 metre-long bridge is the Riu Atoll with 264 rooms and 36 water suites. On the other side is the five-star Riu Palace Maldivas with 176 rooms and 72 waterfront suites. The resort will open in 2019 – with 24-hour all-inclusive service, making holidays in the Maldives affordable with every comfort and luxury.
The Riu family recently announced that it had purchased a property in Phuket, Thailand.
RIU pushes the city hotel business
With 96 hotels, 49,273 rooms, 34,215 employees and over 6 million guests (figures from 2022), RIU has not had enough. The Spanish hotel company continues to expand.Following the opening of the second Plaza Hotel in New York/Manhattan, RIU is venturing into the UK. The Riu Plaza Victoria London with 435 rooms has been open since mid-July 2023. And there is more to come: in October 2024, the opening of another Plaza hotel with 350 rooms will be celebrated in the centre of Chicago. In Canada, a Riu Plaza Hotel with 350 rooms is being built in Toronto. And in New York, RIU recently acquired a strategically located plot of land directly on Broadway and close to Central Park. A skyscraper with more than 50 floors is to be built here.
New openings in Mauritius and Jamaica
With the Riu Palace Aquarelle hotel in Falmouth, the Spanish hotel chain will open its seventh hotel in Jamaica in May 2024. Falmouth is located in the north of the reggae island and is the fourth location of the Spanish hotel chain, which has been represented on the island for 24 years, alongside Ocho Rios, Negril and Montego Bay.
The two Riu hotels on Mauritius have been demolished and completely rebuilt. They will also open their doors in May 2024 as Riu Palace Mauritius (adults only) and Riu Turquoise on the on the beaches of the Morne Peninsula for a paradisiacal holiday with 24-hour All Inclusive by RIU.