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.
- 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