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“Loved this place” 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 Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #24 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence 2014
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Loved this place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2008

We went for 10 days (Sep 1st to Sep 10th) to Punta Cana and stayed at the Riu Palace Macao. The airport was very nice and clean. They took us a picture with two Dominican girls dressed in locals customs and you may buy (or not) the picture when you leave the country (you can tell the difference on the skin tone...)

I need to clarify that, as I am from Argentina, Castillian (Spanish) is our native language, so that helped a lot.

I traveled with my wife and my son (2 years).

The check in was fast and they welcomed us with a fruit punch drink (non alcoholic cocktail).

The room was very nice, with the towel decoration (swan). No odor at all as I read in some reviews. Double queen bed, very confortable. The A/C worked perfect and there was a ceiling fan also, which was on most of the time (with the baby we never use low temperatures, we set the A/C to 22 C°, which is very nice temp). The room (3157) has a pool and garden view, on top of the main restaurant. No food odor or noise at all coming from the pool. Maid service was on time and they change your bath towels twice a day. The mini fridge had all the Pepsi brands (I drink Coke, we don't like Pepsi at all, but we do drink 7up (better than Sprite), so we were happy with that). We don't drink alcohol at all, but there were beer also in the mini fridge. There was also an alcohol dispenser with local brands of Rhum, Vodka, etc. Never used it.

The food was perfect, as someone recomended going to the main buffet only, we did that. There was a huge variety of food and it was excelent. The baby ate a lot of chicken and fried potatoes. We had salmon, pork, dorado (fish), beef, pizza (very good), lamb, paella, salads (all types). We also had a lot of fruits and juices. Ice cream and pies too. Totally recomendable this restaurant for the variety and quality. Never went to the steak house, the japanese restarurant, etc. We were satisfied with the main restaurant. They will asign you a table for dinner and the same waiter. They are very kind to us and the kid. Of course we tipped them (once main waiter and the other serves the drinks). The normal tip we gave was 1/2 dollars per occasion. Although the tips are included, I know they need the extra money (average salary is 200 US dollars per month, which is very low, you can tell for the poverty outside the resort).

The pool was clean and nice, I saw the pool guys checking the pool water acid level many times a day and it was really perfect. The pool animations guys were fine, I didn't too much of the shows and was OK. They speak a lot in Spanish, but they speak English too, although they don't translate everything they said in Spanish to English. Weird German and weird French are also spoken by the animation team (I said weird because I also speak German and French, but the pronunciation was strange and raw. They had funny water activities like aerobics and dancing, etc.

The beach was nice, the sand was white and fine, some days we found some seaweed, but didn't bother us. The water temperature was a little cold (this is the Atlantic Ocean not the Caribbean Sea) but totally bearable, after the first minute you will be swimming like a dolphin. The nearby hurricanes activities cold up the water a little more. By the middle of our stay the sea water was really clear and more warm (no hurricane activities at all, the weather only spoiled us 1 1/2 days of constant rain due to Hanna TS). There is a bar near the beach, so you can order juices, beer, etc. All included of course. The hotel will give you beach towels cards and you can trade them at the pool booth (you should have the towels or the cards returned at check out, if you don't a 20 dollars fine will be applied for every towel (1 per person). The beach chairs are enough for everyone and there is always a palm tree were you can put them or you can sit by the beach facing the sun. 90% of the torists are from Europe (50% of them are from Spain, so of course you will hear Spanish all the time), 5% Canadian, and the rest is from all over the planet. As many Europeans are accostumed, get used of seeing topless girls, ladies and old ladies in the beach.

In general our stay was very good, we went to visit the other hotels pools, and you may say the atmosphere in the Riu Palaca Macao is the best, although the Palace Punta Cana is bigger, we really enjoyed staying at this hotel.

We highly recommed this hotel if you are going with kids. In fact we made friends with other couples with babies, from Canada, England and Spain and they all agreed that is was a nice hotel. The pricing was fine, I booked it using the hotel website and we had a good price 15 days before the arrival date.

Before coming to this hotel, I read a lot of reviews and during my stay I remembered the specific complainings of those people but never found them, so don't worry on the negative reviews, they may be very few.

Have fun like we did and learn some Spanish it will help a lot!

Buena suerte con tu viaje (Good luck with your trip). Greetings from Argentina.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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2,352 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 (478)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bolton Ontario
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2008

What a fabulous place this resort was!. We were there for 2 fabulous weeks. The moment we arrived at this resort we were pampered. I find it hard to believe anyone would say anything negative. The animaction team...Johnny Bravo, Big John, Big Papi, EZE and Nanu made the day fun. They entertained with so much humour and made everyone feel special. Yes the shows were amateur , but they tried their best. After all it wasn't Vegas. Unlike some other resorts, the service was quick and efficient. We had no trouble that wasn't taken care iof immediately. They called our room every couple of days to ensure everthing was fine. Service was the best. Around the pool...beach...buffets..no matter where.We highly recomment this resort for food cleanliness and mostly service

  • Liked — cleanliness and service
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 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.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2008

I´ve just arrived from Punta Cana. We had very pleasant week. The animation Was very good (Eze is just fantastic) and the employees are very friendly. The quality / price ratio is very good. I advise the hotel, because despite already had been in better hotels, the truth ais that paid more. An unforgettable week without doubt.
The show at the Bohem bar were also very good.

Portugal/Brasil enjoyed much!

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Trip Advisor Member: Pittsburgh PA.
RE: Riu Palace Macao Dominican Republic, Punta Cana

I am just getting the time to write a review of our recent trip to the Dominican Republic, which occurred during the month of August 2008. Our vacation was booked through a local travel agency and I must say that we looked at all areas of the Caribbean, but we were drawn back to the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana area simply because of price, it was an affordable all inclusive family vacation for the four of us.

Departure: we flew a chartered direct flight from the US to the Dominican Republic on USA 3000, how nice this was. No lay over’s, no switching planes, no lost luggage and as soon as the plane was filled we were up and away. Drinks, snacks and movies were provided during this Flight. We landed in Punta Cana paid a $10.00 fee at customs to enter the country. We gathered our luggage and then we were directed to an air conditioned bus that took us directly to our resort.

Arrival: at the resort we were greeted with open arms, are rooms were ready and we were pampered from the very minute of our arrival. I will say we initially had problems with our rooms; they were beautiful, clean and well equipped, but very hot. The air condition was not cooling the rooms, we called to the front desk and complained, service staff was immediately sent to our room to investigate and repair the problem, but we were advised that the air condition could not be repaired immediately. Management asked us to tolerate the heat just for a day, for they had a surprise for us. The next day, I was call to the front desk and handed two room keys, our surprise awaited us. I was instructed to inspect the rooms and if I like them, they were ours at no additional charge. We inspected the rooms; My God they provided us with room upgrades that were beyond our expatiation's.

The grounds: were just beautiful; the various gardens were well groomed and well kept. The pool was beautiful and a good way to stay cool. The beach was very close to the resort and was simply beautiful, the sand was soft, silky and water was refreshingly clear with various shades of blue and green. Drinks were plentiful, beach services were good and a walk up bar was also very close.

Activities: Were available for all ages, such as water aerobics, beach aerobics (note) look for an instructor named Big Papi ,tell him Paparazzi said Hi. There was beach volley ball, games & activities for younger children, horse shoes, ping pong , bingo, weight rooms ,various water sports, dancing with instruction, nightly shows, live music in the hotel bars, casino, disco, shopping for the lady’s and there was free wi-fi in the lobby area of the hotel take your laptop if you feel the need.

Excursions: were available at additional cost, which was somewhat pricey. We did a whole day excursion to Saona Island, which very nice, we would definitely recommend and encourage you to experience this excursion, ask for Ramos’s. We spoke with other travelers who did other excursions and they too were very pleased with the excursions that they picked.

The people: I have not seen a more pleasant and harder working people in my entire life; we were treated like royalty and pampered in every respect. The service was impeccable, I once timed how long it would take to get a drink refill at dinner, and it took 20 seconds. I accidently dropped my fork, before I thought to ask for a new one; Miguel was standing there, smiling with my replacement. It would help to know a little bit of Spanish, but most understand English pretty well.

The food: I read some of the reviews prior to our departure, stating the food was bad. I just want to know what they eat that is so good. The food was awesome, plentiful with many choices you will not go hungry, I assure you. Drinks, good god, I hope you don’t have a problem with alcohol and if you don’t you will by the time you leave, just kidding. The drinks were very good; liquors were not top shelf but not bottom shelf either.

Safety: We felt very secure and comfortable at this resort and no time did I become alarmed, suspicious or concerned about anything given my background in law enforcement which causes me to be more aware and suspicious of everything and everyone. Security was present on the resort but out of site and not intrusive.

In Summary: “simply try it you will love it” the Riu Palace Macao in a fantastic place- the staff will make you feel like family, “a royal family”.

  • Liked — The Staff and the People
  • Disliked — Problems with the climate control
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2008

I will just add a few quick points; most important is to keep in mind this is not home, and you will have a great vacation.

Get Malaria meds and Dukoral meds for travelers from your family Dr. We did and we had no problems. I don’t understand all the complaints. Take Imodium and Pepto Bismol with you.

This is not home; it’s a third world country. Brush your teeth with the bottled water provided by the hotel.

Watch the 3rd floor for A/C. Ask upon check in for a room with good air. The front desk is well aware there is a problem on the 3rd floor. My children moved out of 3362. That whole row of rooms has weak air conditioning.
Watch the elevators. We were stuck 6 times. Push 1 and walk down the stairs.

The strawberry daquries and margaritas do taste like cough syrup.

The food is not for everyone. We are not picky eaters so we got by. Even at home buffets are not known for great food. Most food is morphed into something else the next day. I wish they would concentrate more on quality than quantity. I hope they give the local people the leftovers. I’m not sure where all the littler comes from along the sides of the roads outside the resorts. Most seem to be Styrofoam containers. Some wine snobs wrote comments about the wine, which is Spanish. We had both red and white will all meals, and it was fine. I’m not really sure what they expected.

They assign a permanent table in the buffet dining room; look for a table under a ceiling fan.

The Italian Restaurant does not exist, as on the website.

There are lots of Spanish and European guests. Topless on the beach and a few at the pool.

The staff was excellent, maids, waiters, bar staff etc.

If you plan to sit by the pool, bring an iPod. The same music loop drives you insane after the first day.

The beach is beautiful, although not for snorkeling. The Caribbean side is much better, and very clear. The pool is very clean. There is sand in the pool, but there is sand everywhere near such a beautiful beach.

We did two excursions both ½ day, which was long enough. Swimming with the dolphins, which we felt was not really worth the money. A DVD of the experience is $30. You are treated more like cattle at this place.

Snorkeling in the coral reef and with nurse sharks and stingrays. These people really do a good job. They go out of their way to make sure everyone has a good time.

They seem to short sheet the beds, which are very hard but we all slept fine. I just wish they used mattress pads and fitted sheets, for cleanliness. No one likes to sleep on a bare mattress.

The Sunquest wait at the airport upon arrival to get assigned your bus took us about an hour at 9:00 in the evening. It was really hot, and you are juggling all your bags.
I’m not kidding about 1 ½ hours upon departure. Very unorganized, lots of busses get dropped off at the same time. Passengers get in the wrong lines. Also really hot, thank God for those big ass fans!

  • Liked — Beach, and cleanliness of the rooms
  • Disliked — getting stuck in the elevators
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2008

This was my first trip to the DR, and also my first all-inclusive.
My bride and I stayed 8/23-8/30/08.

From the moment we entered the spacious lobby and were met with drinks, we felt very special. I don't know where some of the criicisms came from from other travelers. We had a standard room, which had a small terrace. It was spacious and had 2 queen size beds. The room was clean, the bathroom was not large but more than adequate. The furniture may not be brand new, but it was in good condition nonetheless. The mini bar was constantly stocked, and there are liquor dispensers in each room (no extra charge)

Let me start with the negatives:

1. Other reviewers as well a friends advised me to stay away from the restaurants. The Palace Macao has a Japanese restaurant and a Steakhouse. Although not bad, neither stand out. We were told we could visit 3 of the other 4 Riu resorts in the complex, but we didn't bother. The buffets made up for the restaurants. See comments later on.

2. The Room Service leaves a lot to be desired. They boast of 24 hour availability, but the menu leaves little to order. 2 salads, 2 sandwiches, nachos and cake are all there are on the menu.

3. The main entertainment is not very good. It's time to retire the Michael Jackson impersonator. The other "production" is Cabaret. Yes, the original broadway cast, or rather their voices.
The entire production is lip synched. The La Boheme theater
was about 85 degrees, and we left as soon as we heard Liza's voice coming out of someone else. They really need to update this.

Now, the positives:

1. The rooms were constantly cleaned, and the bed was turned down every night. The sheets were clean, towels were more than ample, and the bed was very comfortable.

2. It rained, so we had to resort to the TV. Other reviewers said they got a few poorly received channels. There were only 3 English speaking channels, but about 20 in all. The TV could be upgraded to newer sets, but that's not why you go to the DR.

3. The buffets-amazing! From breakfast through lunch and then dinner, the selection was unending, and the food was fresh and attractively displayed. Other food is available near the pool all day. There was no reason to make reservations at 8 AM, as many others said. Make friends with a maitre' d and you're in.

4. The pool is clean, certainly large enough, and there is much natural shade right near the pool for people like me who burn and don't tan. The beach is right there, and the clear water and cool sand make it a pleasure. Water sports are available, many for free. I tried to go parasailing 3 times, and they screwed up the reservation each time. Still I loved the beach. As there are many Europeans, some went topless.

5. Tours-there are many availabale from different tour operators. We took the Bavaro Runner tour, which is an all day excursion into the "real" DR. The tour guide, Mimi, was great-he
is full of funny stories. Beer is served on the open bus (no windows). You visit a sugar cane plantation, cigar stand, a school, a beach and a horse farm where riding is available for free. A Dominican lunch is included, and was a pleasant surprise-nice variety and good qualiy.

6. Finally, the people. The Dominicans are very friendly. Everyone I know said to bring a lot of cash for tipping. It's not really required. The service at the hotel was fantastic-a special thak you to my man Pedrito, who made sure we were happy.

Overall, we had a really nice time, and I'd visit another Riu property with no hesitation.

Andy M
Monroe Township NJ

  • Liked — The food and the staff were wonderful.
  • Disliked — Nothing negative. A good buy for the money.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Carolina
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2008

This was our second trip to Punta Cana and the Riu Palace Macao. We picked this hotel because we had been there In November with another couple. Our first visit was fabulous. None of us could find any thing about which to complain, We had read all the reviews and kind of knew what we were getting.,

Our second trip in May left a lot to be desired. We had to have our first room changed because it only had a queen bed and we had requested a king size. Neither one of us is tiny!! We were moved the next morning to a room that looked exactly the same as our room in November 2007. However, by the second day we noticed very limited hot water for washing. By the third day we didn't have any hot water (gives new meaning to cold showers). We called the front desk and they said they were taking care of the situation No one (that day or any day after) seemed to think this was a big dea!! To make a long story short, the next time we had hot water was on the last (7th) day of our vacation. Ironically we noted that the only guests that were complaining of the lack of hot water were Americans! Lots and lots of Europeans.

The service staff (cleaning, food, etc.) was still very efficient though did not seem to be as large as in the Fall/Winter, Could be the reason for the downfall in the property,

I would not go back to this hotel. Definitely not 4 stars.

I must admit though, that after returning home and speaking with my travel agent she did get us a one day refund from Riu. Big deal.

  • Liked — Beach, pool
  • Disliked — No hot water. Could rarely get a reservation at the Caribe which is best restaurant on property
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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:
#12 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#19 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#19 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#21 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#22 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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