COVID-19 impact roundup: RIU lends helping hand despite shutdowns

by | 22 Apr 2020 | Portfolio

The exterior of the RIU Palace Punta Cana. (Photo: Riu)

Spanish hotel group RIU was on an awards high before the crisis, but in its aftermath, has experienced numerous shutdowns.

RIU Hotels and Resorts was revelling in a spate of prize winnings in February of this year, but with the shock of March looming on the horizon, the bubble was about to burst for the Spanish hotel group. We take a look at RIU’s shifting fortunes amidst the current coronavirus crisis.

Plaudits and prizes

At the beginning of 2020, before the world began to take on an entirely different form, Spanish hotel group RIU Hotels and Resorts was winning big at events and awards ceremonies across the world. From its RIU Atoll properties in the Maldives taking home the “Best New Hotel 2019” prize awarded by Expedia, to six RIU hotels in the Canary Islands winning at the TIU Nordic awards and bestowing the group with 15 prizes at the Traveler Review Award 2020, RIU was cleaning up.

RIU was also praised for its sustainable initiatives at the ReThink Hotel Awards in Madrid, so it would have seemed that they were on track to having a very successful 2020. Then Covid19 hit and shook the international hospitality industry to its core, leaving no prisoners. Inevitably, RIU has been caught up in the fray.

Shutdowns in the Caribbean

As the reality of the rapidly spreading coronavirus set in, hotel groups around the world were forced to act swiftly to protect guests, staff and the future of their organisations. RIU responded by shutting down the operations in three of its properties on the western side of the island of Jamaica. The RIU Palace Jamaica, RIU Negril and RIU Montego Bay closed temporarily on March 19th, but some of the group’s other properties on the island remained open.

A press release from the group said, “We are facing an unprecedented situation that requires us to take exceptional measures. Our business model, based on hotel ownership and direct management of our operations, allows us to have the agility to take the actions required by the current situation.”

A helping hand

Despite its problems, RIU is going the distance and offering a wide range of help to counter Covid19. As mentioned in the TOPHOTELNEWS Covid19 live blog, the hotel group is using bed sheet fabric for making masks, and providing health authorities with gloves and masks, bleach and disinfectant.

Furthermore, RIU is donating perishable foods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs to different food banks, NGOs, police forces, local governments and employees.



RIU Hotels & Resorts was founded in Mallorca, Spain in 1953 as a small summer business for the Riu family, and is currently owned by TUI and the Riu family, and run by the third generation of the family.