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“Wonderful Week” 5 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 de Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Special Offer
Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #27 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Wonderful Week”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

We came back just a week ago, and have to say that for what we were looking for, this was just wonderful.

We only booked it six weeks in advance and all we wanted was good weather, a nice beach and a good hotel. We really enjoyed it all.

The hotel itself was very clean, spacious and the bedrooms were as described in the brochure - a very few minor issues such as the bed runner was a tad tatty etc but nothing that spoilt the holiday or gave us need to complain. Staff were courteous and helpful, room service was always complete by the time we returned to the room around 6pm ish and the restuarants and pool area were spotless.

We always go 5* all inclusive for ease, and we agreed that although at the end of the day its still buffet food, it was certainly the best buffet out of any other hotel we have visited. Plenty of choice, always hot and beautifully presented. We knew about having to book the themed restaurants before we went so we made sure to book all four in advance on out first few days. Unfortunately nothing to get excited about, a lot of the food served was similar to the buffet however it was nice to be served at the table and have a menu to select from - stopped us from overeating for four days at least!

Drink options were also some of the best out of the hotels we have been too, plenty of cocktails to choose form and they did serve branded drinks, smirnoff, jim bean etc - you just had to specify that you wanted them as you were goven the home brands as standard. Also, if you coffee fiends like us, please dont expect too much however make sure you visit the small coffee bar in the main lobby - definitely the best coffee on the complex and whislt we didn't partake ourselves, we were impressed to find 24 hour snacks available in the coffee bar such as cakes, fruit, sandwiches and nachos. We use to have breakfast at the buffet and then collect a take away coffee when wandering down to the beach.

My only gripe, and this is purely a personal view, was the constant entertainment ongoing around the pool. The entertainment crew were friendly and ceratinly didnt bother you to join in but from around 09:30 until 15:00 there was nonstop announcements and music and as its quite a small pool area, theres no escape. Like I said, for those who enjoy partaking or watching the entertainment then this is not even an issue but personally for me it was a bit constant. That said, the beach is wonderful and so we spent many days down there so you don't even notice. Another positive was that you never had to scramble for a lounger - there were plenty on the beach and at the pool, although waiter service on the beach is a lot more sporadic than at the pool.

Overall we had a lovely time, with no complaints. We would definitely reccommend the hotel to anyone looking to go to the Dominican Republic. If you are looking for a lovely hotel, to relax and enjoy the gorgeous weather on a beautiful beach then this hotel is certainly reccomended.

Room Tip: I can imagine rooms facing the pool area get a little nosy at night but a side room had no noise at...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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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 (342)
Date | Rating
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English first
Kent
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Have just returned from a week long stay at the Riu Palace Macao. My husband and I have celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary out there (without the kids). Never having visited the Caribbean before of never going all-inclusive before I guess I don't have much to compare this to, but we enjoyed every minute of our stay there. Here are our thoughts of some of the areas...

Food - I think it is unfair of some reviews to say the buffet became monotonous / boring - we found a variety of different foods every night. For each breakfast / lunch / dinner we could eat something different everyday. The food was always fresh (no flies around it) and tasted good. The meats such as pork/beef were often quite dry/chewy but there was plenty of fish, chicken, pasta and salad dishes to pick from. Plenty of fresh fruit available and a wide range of desserts - bubble-gum flavour ice-cream is now my favourite thing! We only ate in the Pancho Restaurant (steakhouse) once and although a limited menu choice it was fresh and well cooked, and tasted delicious. We heard mixed things said about the other restaurants that needed to be booked and we didn't fancy the menus.

Rooms - bright, airy and clean with a well stocked fridge and fresh fruit when you wanted it. Plenty of clean, fresh towels. We had 2 calls from reception to check we were happy. We also received champagne for our anniversary. The shower was huge - and we liked the 'glass wall'. My only quibble would be that the rooms were not 'made up' at regular times each day. Some days we were done by mid-morning, whereas other days the room wasn't done until early evening - or literally before we retired to our room.

Pool / Beach - was good to see staff out every morning/evening cleaning / tidying the areas. The pool was well maintained and provided a massive range of sun beds to choose from. Hotel provides beach towels via a card system which was good. The bar/waiter service was excellent, with drinks brought right to your lounger every time your glass was empty. Lots of things to do with the entertainment staff (though we didn't take part), but they were always doing something like volley ball, aqua aerobics, darts, dancing etc. The smaller pool with the 'swim-up' bar was always crowded and very noisy. The larger pool area was much quieter and the pool used for people taking a dip to cool down.

Staffing - everyone was polite and spoke good English. The waiting staff were always 'on the ball' and would clear plates / top up drinks asap. The staff always looked smart in their different uniforms and had a very friendly manner.

Trips - we did the Boogie Buggies and Outback Safari. The Boogie Buggies was a half day that allowed you to drive karts down tracks to a beach and then onto a cave. It was an ok trip - quite pricey for just a couple of hours. The Outback Safari was brilliant. Angel our guide made the trip fun and interesting. It was a fabulous way to see the 'real' Dominican Republic by visiting local schools / villages. A bbq lunch at the ranch high in the mountains was delicious - just be prepared for the bumpy roads!!! Highly recommend this trip - if you only do 1 trip - do this one. We were out all day from 9am - 5pm.
We also walked the 25 minutes along the shore to the small flea market - it was a bit intimidating at first being accosted at every shop to go in and buy stuff. But they were all friendly and once you said 'no' and walked on they didn't badger you. Just go with the flow - enjoy the banter and the fact that all English people say 'Lovely-Jubbly' because we are all related to Del-Boy!!! Be prepared to haggle!

Overall we were made to feel welcome and comfortable at the hotel. The service was 5 star - and we have returned home feeling relaxed and full of things to tell our family/friends.
Watch out for the taxes you need to pay. Our travel agent told us we needed to pay $10 each on arrival - which we had, but it wasn't until the welcome meeting that we were told we needed another $20 each to pay when we left at the airport. We were a bit annoyed with travel agent who told us to just take $50 for tipping and about £500 in pesos for trips/shopping etc. Everything is priced in US Dollars - so it meant having to convert prices and work out which was the better deal.

  • Stayed August 2013, 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
    • 4 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.
Warren, Michigan
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

Just returned from an 8 day stay. If you are used to more upscale accommodations, you will find this resort middle of the road, as are most Riu we have visited (Jamaica, Mexico). If this is your 1st venture to the Caribbean all-inclusives, you will love. Resort, room, staff, beach and entertainment very nice. Disco only plays Salsa every single night for 8 nights. Yes this is the Caribbean; however, your guests are international...a little PitBull would have been a nice change. The food after the 1st night became monotonous. Speciality restaurants were difficult to reserve, and when reserved, food was mediocre at best ! Return reservations not needed. I love Grouper; however, it will be a long time before I desire this particular fish again, served every meal, grilled, yuck! Seems most things were fried. As mentioned in another review, the alcohol, although in premium bottles, was not up to par, by the 4th day I could not stomach another drink, and I am a drinker...lol. Resort credits are a joke! 24 hr. room service non-exsistent, called and called, no answer. menu consisted of 2 salads, 2 sandwiches, Movie style nachos and cheese, 3 desserts, again, nonexsistent. Overall, will not return t o a RIU, will pay extra to enjoy the finer resorts of the Caribbean.

Room Tip: Request Superior room
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013 via mobile

I had read all the reviews on the build up to my trip and had seen some negatives which I must admit made me a little apprehensive. Well all that was soon forgotten when we arrived. We had requested a pool view and we got exactly what we wanted looking out over the pool and beach every morning was fantastic. The rooms were spacious and the air con was spot on.

The food was good although can become a little repetitive they do a great job of all the meats. It would have been nice to have had restaurants outside the hotel for something a little different but we sure didn't go hungry.

The staff are all very friendly and never were pushy for tips. We tipped the staff that we felt made an extra effort to be friendly and they were always grateful.

We did the Outback tour which allowed you to see the other side to the Dominican Republic visiting the local school was one of our highlights and the guide Angel and driver Leo made the trip even better.

All in all we loved it if I had to pick any negatives it would be the quality of the alcohol is not the top brands they make you think meaning the cocktails become your main drink of the stay. Which is fine but by the end of the trip I was sick of them. And also Caribbean street was more of a hassle than its worth being ushered into the shops as you go for a stroll.

I would go back and recommend a stay here. And also recommend booking through Thomson.
Our room was 3129.

  • Stayed August 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 Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

The hotel is "ok", not great. Everything is clean, when we arrived the room had a cigarrette stench that went away after one day of leaving the balcony open. The food is, as well, ok but I'd advise to people traveling here to go early in the morning and book the specialty restaurants. The food at the specialty restaurants is very limited: Starters: one option; entrées, pick one of three options; desert one of two options. The food is good, though (Not excellent, but tasty).
The entretainment croud is amazing: they work nonstop from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm, trying to amuse tourists. No kids is a big plus for couples that want to relax by the beach or the pool without the noise.
Watch out for scams at the "carnival" on thursday, a guy sold me a ring for my wife in $40.00 USD and the next day the same identical piece was displayed for $7.00 at one of the shops. Not a lot of variety of shops at the hotel, so if you want to go to Santo Domingo or somewhere else, you'll pay a good amount for cabs (i.e.: Hard Rock café from here $20.00 one way, to Santo Domingo: $60.00 USD one way).
I'd recommend: relax, accept that you're at a different country (The airport is a mess) and enjoy your vacation. The beaches are beautiful and calm.

Room Tip: Reserve all your dinners at specialty restaurants at once. Be mindful of breakfast and lunch schedu...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

I would recommend that anybody come to the Dominican as it is absolute paradise but if you are looking to get what you paid for concerning all inclusive prices stay away from the Riu Palace Macao. We came in late Monday night and were most excited for the themed restaurants but were not able to make a reservation until the following morning. Well by Tuesday morning when we tried to make a reservation we were told the restaurants were booked through Friday. We left Saturday morning. In my opinion it's a huge scam. But punta Cana is so beautiful and worth visiting just stay somewhere others than the Riu.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

Hi fellow traveler! Just got back from the Dominican Republic! What a trip. From arrival at the airport to the Riu Palace Macao, nothing but wow! The hotel's amazing. All staff members whether housekeeping to the front desk - very courteous, professional and impressing. Whether you're in the lounging area, dining room, bar, casino, disco, beach, pool - there's staff everywhere wanting to make you comfortable and happy. The entertainment team really made the experience wonderful too. They've got amazing talent and energy; very engaging and just overall very nice people. Would I go back - you're darn skippy I would!

The Riu Macao is an adults only resort but the Riu Punta Cana accommodates families with children. The Riu Macao attracts people from all over the world. Beware though...there are some that go topless on the beach, so I'm telling you now!

I have pics; I'll add them later. All other islands need to improve on any slack because the Dominican Republic is going to move to #1 for beauty, cleanliness, professionalism and they're hungry for a piece of the tourism dollar! Also, I felt very safe on the resort too. Special shout outs to Francisco, Roberto, Billy and the Entertainment (Animacion) team. Fabulous job; keep it up!

Room Tip: We were on the first floor, room was clean and easily accessible to all the main attractions. Room...
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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
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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 de 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:
#19 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#20 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#23 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#24 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#25 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*
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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