... although it was not easy in the beginning.
But let me stay in the right order. I have already been to this hotel 8 years ago. All of you now reading this should have noted by now that this is a mid 1990's building, which has been completely refurbished in 2012. With "completely" I mean what I say: Nearly no stone remained untouched (if some only by a brush giving them a different brighter color). A once for my taste quite appropriate colonial style hotel with much beautiful dark wood under palm trees has now been updated to a trendy and modern white - glass - marble look. I guess that this is what Riu-group is currently undertaking to undergo in some more of their hotels. ok, I may be old fashioned, but to be honest: I was shocked when entering the rooms. All white, an admittedly big bathroom/shower, but separated by cold looking glass bricks ... brrrr !! After some days I got more used to it, but to be honest, I liked the old look more. But others might think completely different.
What pleased me during the following days of my stay was the fact that fortunately not many other good things I had experienced eight years before had changed. First of all all staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Example: It was not even a problem to get a technician at 1.30 am (!) to have a look at our rattling air condition (which was in fact caused by our own carelessness not closing the balcony sliding door properly, so the magnet switch operating the air condition did not connect and lead to - audible - misfunctions). For business purposes and - I am honest enough - private enjoyment I need constant internet access. The WiFi network of the hotel works reliable and well all over the hotel & room and - to my great amazement - was even available on the beach ! The beach fortunately has not changed and for me still is the best piece of coast in Punta Cana, and I know the major part of it. I especially like the dense palm tree forest, which does not make any kind of additional sunscreen necessary. So that all brought me to peace with the change in optics above.
Some admittedly minor remarks, more pointed at the hotel management (hope they do read here ?) than a real heavy point of criticism: The food in the restaurants is very multifaceted, but the wines in the restaurants have not changed :-( They are still as unswallowable as eight years ago. I obviously understand that Riu cannot offer Lafiite-Rothschild on all-in terms, but reading that the bottles were Italian and Spanish table wines bottled exclusively for Riu group, I cannot understand where they do get such miserable quality nowadays. Maybe Riu should speak to their wine procurement agents, there must be better quality available at no higher price. The fact that I watched waiters joining bottles of different origin does not help the case either ... :-) The bars are excellent, but the Caipirinha tasted considerably fresher and fruitier at the bar of the Riu Bambu ... the Macao Caipi is somewhat sour and murky. A last word on the option to lose some of the calories gained from eating and drinking as outlined above: The Fitness facilities. There is a gym on Caribbean Street, which is a joke. Run down and badly equipped. Only after some days after arrival I learned that Macao guests were allowed to use the gym at the Palace Bavaro. Unfortunately this is much too small for the Bavaro, let alone being used in addition by Macao guests. In addition it had the atmosphere of a gambling joint, four (!) TVs running at full volume with four different programs. There is room for improvement.
Secret final tip: Go for lunch to the beachside "Krystal" a-la-carte restaurant. They have opened on most of the days during lunchtime with no reservation needed. By the way, they do not tell you this at reception either ...
All in all this remains to be my favorite Riu hotel in probably the most beautiful part of the Costa Coco ... will come again. :-)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.