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“Finally an Adult Only Riu Hotel in Punta Cana!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Macao

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Hotel Riu Palace Macao
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #28 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“Finally an Adult Only Riu Hotel in Punta Cana!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

We returned yesterday from a 7 day get away at the recently renovated Riu Palace Macao. A lovely older hotel, set close to the beach with some new areas that have been added to bring this hotel to a status that competes well with other hotels on this strip. This is our 17th trip to Punta Cana. We have experienced many of the Adult only hotels and a few of the family resorts over the past 10 years. When I read some reviews I am amused. This is not a North American hotel and it will never compete in that star/ranking system. This is not a cruise ship, nor can it compete in that category. It can however provide a fabulous vacation experience, at a very good price, in a little piece of paradise that provides wonderful beaches, weather, drinks, food and an overall top notch get away. The renovations have provided an update to the stately old hotel. There is some overuse of silver spray paint in an effort to put a modern spin on some older items but the overall impression is very acceptable. The rooms have seen an improvement in the bathrooms - they can compete with any hotel on the strip now. The Riu has very high housekeeping standards and, for some reason, they choose to use a product to clean with that leaves an overwhelming odor. It is very industrial smelling and leaves a greasy film on the floor that is quite slippery. That treatment is used the day you check in. It becomes less offensive daily. You will not see bugs in your room. I do believe that is thanks to the smelly stuff they treat your suite with. That is my only negative comment. The rest of the experience is smooth and the environment provides something for everyone. Quiet places in the shade on the beach, a large swim up bar with amazing drinks, served promptly and with a smile, good options for dining - we ate a la carte 5 nights out of 6 and we had a pleasant experience, with some ingenious serving concepts having been introduced, every night. The red meat at the Riu is not quite to the standard of some of their competition, if you wish to eat steak. I do not order steak in these resorts so I had absolutely no complaints. Pancho and Valare are two a la cartes that share the space that is the daytime beach-side lunch spot. They dress up nicely at night and are without walls - only screened and yet in this climate still quite warm in the evening. Bring your coolest evening wear ladies and gents! The Japanese is a three course offering and all good. Not the chop and cook at the table concept - simple black tables and very nice food. In the past the wines served at Punta Cana Riu hotels were grim. We are not hard to please but they were really not palatable. Now they offer a nice white and red house wine and a sparkling 9% champagne-style bubbly that is a wonderful treat on a hot day. The bar drinks are excellent and the menu shows you the choices and, when you get the drink, it truly is what you ordered. Good Port and some Brandy available after dinner along with the usual suspects on the resorts rails - the Normandy products of chocolate, peach, strawberry etc and oddly - no Peppermint this time. If you are buying anything at the airport to bring to the resort you might want something higher-end for sipping after dinner. There is a huge area for sitting out to have cocktails any time of day. Nice comfy chairs around small tables. We liked that. That area holds hundreds of people They have a little dance combo in the lounge nightly and then, if you can stay awake, at 10 pm there will be a little show of some kind in the 1940's style lounge that is attached to the bar. It is such a shame that this perfect little lounge, that looks so inviting, still smells musty after all that has been done to improve it. It is charming but a bit...whiffy! That, I might add, is the only place to seek out some air conditioning to sip your after dinner drinks. November this year was so hot and humid that we were not able to sit comfortably on the patio at night - we were really looking for a cool spot once we had eaten. We enjoyed our stay at the Riu Palace Macao. We will go back. We suggest that any negativity you read in certain reviews may reflect situations that are very personal and therefore if you remember you are in Punta Cana, love it for all it offers, remember the price you paid you will feel very, very fortunate to have selected this hotel. We are not folks who write about the wonderful staff they met and name them etc. We do salute the staff at the Riu Palace Macao and feel that that high level of service that is the standard at this hotel at this time did influence our complete satisfaction with our week at the beach. If you have booked a holiday at this hotel, rest assured that you have made a good choice and that you will have a memorable experience. As a note to frequent travellers the days of bringing little gifts to leave for your maid each day may be over. Due to time restrictions this time we did not bring anything like that and simply left $3 a day on the pillow. The service we received was amazing and they left their thanks in a little towel sculpture daily and some flowers around the suite. Our luggage allotment was limited so I was happy not to have 5 lbs of "stuff" eating in to my swim suit space! We do tip and I am not sure if it makes a difference or not. The service we received was exceptional however, we watched a couple near us (most days) and they did not seem to reward the server with anything and they had excellent service as well. We enjoy a little walk in the daytime and the Riu Hotels have a nice interlock path, up off the sun of the beach in the shade of the palms, that you can take to explore the adjacent campuses. I always make sure I have a comfy walking sandal with me so that we can take advantage of that. I like to take a dip in the other pools, get a cold drink and then walk back to our hotel. It expands your horizons and lets you experience the feeling of the sister hotels while burning off a few calories from those amazing pastries in the morning!
We had Wifi in our room - nice perk. No charge. Lots of hangers for your clothing and super drawer space - we had 12 drawers so no competing for space this trip - my husband had one side of the room and I had the other, New info for frequent travellers: It is true. You have to pay $10 each upon entry (US$) ,,,line up and procure this ticket and then head to the entry officials and yes - you need $20 US$ each to depart. ?? This is new. I was told it is an airport tax and that your tour company does not pay this in advance. Regardless of who your carrier is, you will be obliged to pay. We read this but thought it was not factual. We were wrong. Have $60 handy! Have a great trip - we did!

Room Tip: premium rooms face the beach and the pool. We looked over Carribean Street. We spend no time in our...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,465 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (507)
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English first
Washington Court House, Ohio, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

Recently visited this resort for 2 weeks and was 85% satisfied; no top shelf liquor in rooms or unless we were pushy at the bars; shower is HUGE but I believe a seat should be installed, especially since the majority of the guests are 50+; food is repetitive, bland and caters mostly to Euorpeans, the 1st week was ok but by the 2nd week was very very tiresome - no alterations; steakhouse is the best food on the resort; Elias and Eusebio are the best waiters anywhere I have ever travelled, went out of their way to ensure all of our needs were satisfied, so pleasant; beach is stunning and the vendor Russell was a great guy and fun to chat with; resort might have been renovated, but there is absolutely no tropical feel anywhere inside, too modern; in the past in the DR we have been served El Presidente beer but here we received Brahma which we did not like; casino is fun; servers at Disco tried to rip us off; recreation staff are pleasant and not pushy; expected more from a "Palace" resort

Room Tip: Higher rooms have less noise, stayed in 3216...very pleasant and can see ocean from the corner of th...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder CO
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

We were happy with every aspect of our stay and we give it an A. A couple of suggestions for future travelers:

Japanese restaurant - skip this one if you don't have time for all four. We wished we had ordered the tempura rather than the snapper dish. We enjoyed the other three equally.

Evening shows: the activities board was confusing to us, especially regarding the location of some events (bingo and the evening shows). They shows are held in two locations, depending on the weather. The inside theater (Boehme) entrance is at the back of the piano bar and did not seem well marked to us.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the inside rooms so you get a view of the beach and inside of the resort.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, New Jersey
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

This trip was my first solo getaway. The hotel's setting and environment provided a relaxing atmosphere in which you could be in around the crowd or just veg. I wondered why there wasn't a hustle from the staff to get guest to join them in whatever was on the agenda, but to my surprise, the majority of the population were matured retired adults. They outnumbered other age groups. Very quiet and relaxing if that's what you want. I did not care for the privacy in which you could not deny access to the room other than putting a "do not disturb" on door.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sao Paulo
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

The system all inclusive food is disappointing and unfortunately bad and worse: passed, old, reused and waiters with uniform encardidos and greasy guys ... A pity ... it seems so far-fetched. In this case, not done miracles! The beach is beautiful and good. Visit the restaurants a la carte and we see that the dishes are not very beautiful and healthy food aspect. Mostly elderly guests. Deserves special mention the bottles with drinks tampered with, as the photos, and including non-alcoholic drinks, including water from the mini bar, had the bottle open and re-filled God knows where!
Shameful! The fourth as the photo was clean, but is far from a five-star Resort. I and my wife feel cheated and hope you don't get too. Never go back on it! This is definitely not something top. Our experience throughout the world does not lead us to unfair reviews.
We went to eat at Club Med!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bromsgrove Worcestershire
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

Stayed at this hotel last week in October first week in November. This is our 2nd visit to the Riu Macao, our first being 5 years ago. The update has made the hotel a lot brighter and modern. The rooms are now airy and bright with a walk in shower and his and her sinks. Main restaurant is excellent with so much choice, we did not bother going to a la carte , the seating time did not suit us (6.30pm or 9pm). Drinks are plentiful and service second to none, the staff are always ready to serve you, without you having to tip every time. The new swim up bar is a great addition ,as are the sliding covers over the sun beds. The beach is still very nice. We met many people of all ages and nationalities making our time more enjoyable. Overall this is a good choice of hotel for your holiday, the biggest plus being the staff who are very friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

Firstly, looking at some of the older reviews this hotel has clearly massively benefitted from a major refurnishment this year. It is now really very good. We stayed at the end of September 2012 in a standard double room.

So to begin with, the rooms themselves are excellent. They're very clean and comfortable. Beds are turned down at night and fresh towels delivered twice a day. The mini bar is also well stocked. Depending where you are it can be a bit of a walk down to reception and the restaurents etc but that's not a major issue. I'm sure if it was you could be moved with little hassle. One thing I would say is that it is very well worth paying the extra U.S $ for the unlimited Wi-Fi access around the entire hotel. ($50 for 10 days.) I made several business calls via Skype from poolside back to the U.K. with perfect clarity.

The staff are very helpful and the Thomson Rep 'J.C.' was fantastic. We did have a gripe about noisy children having expected it to be adults only but this was dealt with by Thomson extremely well. As it turned out, the adults only theme did not start until 01/11/12 and this wasn't advertised correctly by Thomson. Their apology and compensation was pleasantly surprising. You would regularly see Hotel management striding around keeping an eye on proceedings which was very reassuring. It did feel like the place was very well run.

The quality and variety of food was excellent across all of the restaurants. The pool area was also excellent. The pool bar staff were very good at coming around and taking drinks orders all day long. The entertainment also tried hard to keep everyone motivated adn were a decent bunch. The whole place was very clean and staff were clearly very adept at making sure the guest areas stayed spotless. The beach itself was right by the hotel and was fabulous. We were really lucky with the weather which helped greatly with the only real rain storms in the middle of the night.

All in all this was a great holiday. I wanted a total chill out, relaxing holiday and had no idea what to expect but was really surprised by how good it was. The value for money was excellent, the facilities great, the quality of food and lodging fantastic. If I could change just one thing it would be that I would have booked earlier and paid for the upgraded Premier cabin seats on the Thomson flight to have more leg room etc.

I would recomend the Dominican and I would thoroughly recommend this hotel. Pick your times carefully for the weather and you will have a great time.

Room Tip: We asked to be away from the pool to be quieter but this meant a further walk and no view. A pool fa...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Macao

Address: Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#13 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#15 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#19 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#23 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#23 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#27 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Macao 4*
Number of rooms: 364
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Taino, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu. 3-storey building. Colonial style architecture. Surrounded by 30,000 m2 / 36,000 sq. yards of palm groves alongside the beach. 50 km / 31 miles from Higey. 200 m / 660 ft. from Caribbean Street. 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int'l. Airport. Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Macao Hotel Punta Cana
Riu Palace Macao Punta Cana
Riu Palace Punta Cana
Rui Palace Punta Cana

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