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“A good trip!” 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 102 Hotels in Punta Cana
San Juan, Puerto Rico
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“A good trip!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

This is a moderately priced all adults, all inclusive resort and it is wonderful for the price. After doing an in depth price and ratings comparison here on TA amongst approximately 15 hotels we book via agent. It was a solid choice. In comparison with the four other resorts on the RIU property this was the most peaceful and least crowded. Do not expect all day/night parties and boozing. While the drinks flow and pockets of folks stick close to the pool bar for the most part it is a place to read, relax, sun and unwind without chaos. The few very young looking to party to dawn types quickly realized that after 11PM they needed find another spot, but seemed to appreciate the quiet calm at the resort to either relax with coffee to revive or the chair solitude to sleep it off the next day. The age groups of this resort do include twenty something's up to retired folks...we experienced pleasant folks all around and the crowd does trend toward European clientele. This does equate to topless sunbathing and loads of smoke. This would be my biggest complaint and I am a former smoker. I think it was fine that it was allowed but wish more areas were designated non smoking in equal measure, as I ended up with a nasty allergic reaction and suffered with sinus issues. The ability to avoid it more often would have helped, as it is, it is impossible to get away from it.

Food was standard buffet on par with AYCE chain restaurants in the US....cruise ship fare is better, as are many buffets in Las Vegas for a comparison. However, there were plenty of nice breads, cheeses, fruits and standard items to keep one happy. Also the best items were local dishes, which I ate quite a bit of and loved, but if not used to this type of food be mindful of your stomach and its fortitude. Speciality restaurants were also "meh." We really only wanted to eat at the fusion Krystal because of the on beach location (other resort properties share this location/nights so it does book quickly) and could not get in as it is only open a couple of nights a week. We did eat at the Japanese (just okay) and the Italian (not good). But it averted boredom at the buffet. The really good items were the snacks and coffee at Cappachino.

Rooms were clean, AC worked fine, fridge well stocked and functioning. Bumps and scratches on the walls and doors from use?...yes, but I didn't stay inside to stare at them and complain. The pool and beach area are wonderful, clean soft sand, plenty of chairs at both with abundant shade if you want it. At Macao you can laugh at the break of dawn types trying to gobble up a chair with their towel. Turn up by 10 am and you can still get a sun bed/palapa. Noon more your style? A chair will be open and merely steps from either body of water. The pool closes at 6, but most people have blissfully wandered off by then anyhow, the sun is setting afterall, those left lingering were never kicked out and sometimes folks still were having a dip until 7 with no issue. Wait service on beach and the pool is consistent, it is also just as easy to stroll up and get your own, no mobs of people clamoring for booze. On that note if you are looking for top shelf liquor and you will be outraged if you get local brands or mid shelf...move on from the Macao. Can you get some top shelf? Yes if you specifically ask for it (P.S. it won't be in your room), otherwise the standard stuff is added to the fruit juices and mixers and life moves on. Beer is only Presidente and wine is local too (we are wine drinkers and this was tough stuff, so we switched to mojitos and enjoyed the view). Staff were nice, English is a bit limited for some, but a few nice words to them, about them, a dollar or two tip now and again (minimum wage in the DR is about $1 US dollar an hour...watch these folk work in the weather and let that sink in) and the experience just gets better.

Water sports that are included are nice equipment wise but only if you know how to windsurf or use a catamaran. If not then for a fee you can take a lesson to start and then use the equipment all week for free. The staff at this spot is very helpful.


So long and short of it, if what you are paying for includes:

Peaceful adults only setting, limited crowds, good service, comfortable rooms, great pool/beach, fun umbrella drinks and overall relaxation then book here.

If what you are paying for includes any or all of the following:

Pool party atmosphere, thumping beats, new bffs, top shelf flowing booze, a wait staff dedicated only to you, a room you will never want to leave, food on par with a Michelin star, constantly being entertained by hotel staff with games/activities, kids, all night pool hours, don't book here.

Lastly, I never saw the flirtation of staff with patrons unless the patrons were party to the flirting and engaging in the banter. And this includes untoward looking, remember everyone is in swimsuits here, many Brazilian/thong cut and some women even topless at the beach (unusual at the pool but sometimes) and I never witnessed the staff learing. We were also never harassed on the beach or anywhere to buy something nor did I see it happen. If people refused politely the vendors at this resort moved on.

We did a compare of our other vacations in Mexico and Caribbean at the conclusion of our stay and decided we would definitely return to the Macao. We were honestly shocked by some of the complaints on this site. Maybe overall star ratings on the entire site/location in DR need to be changed as it seems folks are confused what to expect based upon the stars. We based our expectation on what we paid and were perfectly satisfied.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,181 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 (418)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Borehamwood, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

We visited the Riu Palace Macao in July and found everything to be excellent! The staff were extremely friendly and helpful, and the entertainment staff were particularly funny! The rooms were extremely clean and housekeeping did a great job every day! After a few days the guy topping up our fridge realised what we liked and didn't like and topped our fridge up accordingly for the rest of the holiday! plus he left us fruit platters and a bottle of champagne! The evening shows are ok, not fabulous but what you would expect from a hotel! Both the beach and pools were very clean! Drinks were great, we just asked them to choose and every time got something lovely! particularly in the pool bar! Only down point was the food! It wasn't labelled particularly well and a lot of people we met had some not-so-great bowel movement, especially after eating sushi! However they did have a good variety and offered a selection of pizza's, pasta's, cheeses breads, fruits ect as well as the themed food for that particular evening. Finally this seemed to be a bit more of a hotel for older people who just want to relax and take it easy! Younger couples may want to find somewhere a little more lively! Overall, a wonderful trip and would definitely return!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

My stay at the Riu Palace Macao was wonderful! The hotel is beautiful, the service is amazing and the staff are so friendly. There's really no way to be disappointed. If you're bored and want to have fun, the entertainment staff could not have been better! They were always dancing, singing, having a good time and mingling! I will miss their enthusiasm! I was given the best service by every person in that hotel. I always said once I've visited a place, I won't go back but I am definitely going back here.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013 via mobile

This is an all inclusive resort for couple only - we all should know that you are not going to get 5 star gourmet food at an all inclusive, having stayed in many of these I would say that the food was on the better side of most. Why these folks offer wine that is undrinkable is beyond me, charge more or at least allow customers to buy up would be the way to go. The beach and pools are great no 7 am mad dash to get the last beach chair. The rooms are on the smallish side but very quiet and functional with nice balconies. One of the better all inclusive but please improve the wine!
Finally they have a capuchino bar that offers some of the best expresso coffee that I have ever had a real plus.

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bloomfield, New Jersey
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

I returned from a 6 day stay at this resort. The only thing I enjoyed was the actual lay out and ambiance of the resort. The food was not good, some days we passed altogether on eating. The specialty resturants where pretty ok but you needed reservations that could only be made 7-10 am, and the resturants closed 2 days out of the week, so you are stuck eating the buffet that was not good. The alchol is extremely watered down and cheap, you will never get drunk off any of it besides the mama juana drink they serve in DR. Room service was a joke, its a menue of 5 items which two of them are not served after a certain time. I later discovered this is because the same person takes the order, prepares the order, then delivers the order. You will find many people have multiple jobs around this resport. The pool was closed and empty ever night around 7. The entertainment at the resort sucked, only one good show was the cirque sol e that was an outside company brought in. The staff speak minimal English to none at all, communication was a huge issue here. The club Pache located near the resort was nice but only played Spanish music, we thought we would get a mixture (I spoke with others from different hotels and others did play a variety of music).I cant see how this is a five star hotel, they seem to skimp on everything here and really besides it being an appealing resort to the eye it offers nothing else. Be very aware of the excursions, some are high priced and not worth it at all. We paid 117 for an excursion that turned out to be 6 hours of travel, stopping at other resorts to pick up for an hour, then an hour ride to a speed boat, and another hour to the destination Catalina Island. We were not made aware of this at all that 6 hours would be spent on tarvel alone, it was sold as an all day excursion with no mention of this (very deceitful on alot of excursions). The food was horrible on the excursion as well, and we really ended up at the beach on the excursion which we could have stayed on the resort for.

Room Tip: Pool side rooms have a great view.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
usa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

great resort but im not going in swim up bar pool no bathrooms close plus to small .not for me.maid service was great first three days .then we had none the rest of stay.food okay they need to go to secrets to see how you run a all adult resort.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

We have just returned from a fabulous 2 week stay at this Wonderful Hotel we had the most amazing time if your looking for 2 weeks of 5* lush then look no further. This adults only hotel is well worth the money food and drink was wonderful, cocktail on arrival check in very simple and quick. Room was lovely had a sea view very clean fridge stocked every other day and so were the optics in the room. I would not change a thing about the hotel. Location right on the beach, which was amazing one of the best beaches we have been to and its in a very quiet spot. All staff are lovely nothing was to much trouble we even had waiter service on the beach, now that's what a call lush. It was our first time at the Dominican Republic and like others I read a few bad reviews I can honestly say I don't know how anyone can say anything bad its was lovely paradise on your doorstep. We will definitely be going back for another 2 weeks next year and to the same Hotel its paradise.

Room Tip: If you can pay extra for a sea view room well worth it we had 3365 lovely.
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  • Stayed July 2013, 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 4
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
Amenities:
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:
#12 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#19 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#22 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#22 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#23 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#24 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 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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