What does RIU signify?

date_range 22 July, 2021 label , , question_answer 9 Comments

RIU is the name of the international hotel chain that has been operating since 1953 when it opened its first hotel, the Riu San Francisco, in Playa de Palma (Mallorca, Spain). Since then, it has not stopped growing and today it boasts a total of 100 hotels around the world! But what is behind the name of this hotel company that has charmed so many? In addition to dream holidays, these three letters spell out the surname of the founding family of this Mallorcan chain.

Who is the RIU family?

It is a family that has dedicated itself entirely to the hotel industry in a business that has been passed down from generation to generation. Currently at the helm are its CEOs Carmen and Luis Riu, members of the third generation of the family. The two siblings have been working side by side for decades and together they have achieved tremendous successes, including the internationalisation of the business across four continents and 20 countries, as well as the creation of the Riu Plaza line of hotels in 2010. They are following in the footsteps of their grandparents and parents, and so are their children, the fourth generation, who are now also involved in the business.

Luis Riu and Carmen Riu, owners of the RIU hotel group

Luis Riu and Carmen Riu, owners of the RIU hotel group.

A little bit of RIU’s history

Hotel Riu San Fracisco, Mallorca

Hotel Riu San Fracisco, Mallorca.

To get to know this family better, we have to go back to 1953 when Juan Riu and María Bertrán, the grandparents of the current CEOs, together with their son Luis Riu Bertrán, acquired the Riu San Francisco hotel in Mallorca. It is very close to where the chain’s headquarters are still located. In 1985, the family transported their name to the Canary Islands, specifically Gran Canaria, with the Riu Palmeras, their first hotel outside the Balearic Islands, which today is a Riu Palace hotel.  It was in 1991 that RIU began its international expansion, with its first hotel outside Spain: Riu Taino, in Punta Cana. It was not until 1998, though, that the generational handover took place. In that year, Carmen and Luis Riu took over as CEOs, and remain so to this day. Since then, there have been many milestones in the history of the chain, such as the opening of the first hotels in exotic and distant destinations like Costa Rica, Aruba, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, the Maldives and Dubai, as well as the impressive inaugurations in the heart of important cities like New York and Madrid. And the story doesn’t stop there!

Riu Plaza España, Madrid

Riu Plaza España, Madrid.

RIU: a big family.

If you have already spent your holidays with us, you will know that RIU has excellent customer service that sets it apart from other hotel chains. This service is a reflection of the great family behind it, both the staff and the Riu family itself. Together we work hard to create unforgettable memories for you during your stay with us.

Behind the RIU name there is a great team of people working towards the same goal: to make sure you enjoy your holidays. It is so much more than just the name of a chain, because when you think of these three letters, the feelings triggered by your everyday routine automatically disappear. We hope that you will continue to join us for many more years to come and that together we will continue to make this great family grow.


  • Martin Hutchinson

    I love Riu hotels and will be travelling to one in Jamaica in August and Lanzarote next year.

  • David Duckworth

    Love Riu Hotels My Wice and I will be visiting the Riu Palace in Dubai on the 5th December, we don’t stay anywhere else when on land

  • Steve Clarke

    Been using Riu hotels for 25 years ….love them.
    We just came back from Riu Palace Tres Islas, Fuerteventura..
    Off to Paraiso, Lanzarote in June and Palace Tikka Taghout , Morroco in July…..then back to Fuerteventura in November.
    Please can we have Riu Class Diamond status 😉

    • Riu Hotels

      Hi Steve!

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!

      Best regards,
      RIU Hotels & Resorts

  • Shobha

    The place to be and hospality to experience. Enjoyed our stay at RIU Sri Lanka. One of a kind!!@

  • Jackie Brompton

    Absolutely love Rui hotels, excellent service, food and accommodation, you have spoilt us, no other hotel chain comes close, we enjoy our stay, every single day, thank you

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