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“Fantastic vacation!” 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
Thomasville, Georgia
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic vacation!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

The RIU Palace Macao was very nice and the abundant palm trees made the beach wonderful when 1 person wants shade while the other wants sun. The food was delicious (especially the grilled grouper) although the steakhouse was our least favorite restaurant - they overcooked the lobster and my medium rare steak was definitely more medium. The cappuccino bar had delicious drinks; the pre-packaged sandwiches were not good but the pre-packaged fruit was great! The beach and water were beautiful everyday; the abundance of lounge chairs meant we never worried about getting to the beach early enough to get a couple of chairs - we spent VERY little time at the pool, except during some dance lessons, and the pools were fairly warm and often had many loud people in them. The beach was much more quiet and relaxing and even the peddlers who came by on the public part of the beach were polite and quickly moved on when told "no, thank you." The evening shows were varied and entertaining. The games available were fun (bingo, volleyball, archery, ping pong, horseshoes, bocci, etc.). Our room and 2 balconies were spacious and the bed was firm and very comfortable. The availability and variety of drinks were great, although the beer was just okay. The staff was fantastic - very accommodating, service-oriented, engaging if you wanted to participate, pleasant, polite, and energetic! The "all-inclusive" really did include it all - no need to carry money around the resort with us everywhere (although tipping occasionally was nice) and always plenty to do. Shopping was easy to do - shops at the resort, a strip of shops on a tiny street between resorts on the RIU property, and a flea-market-type strip of shops within walking distance on the beach (do remember to offer the amount you really want to spend, NOT their asking price!). Water sports were fun - several things were free such as using the catamaran, snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing. Scuba diving was available at what seemed to be a reasonable rate and our 1st-time scuba experience there with Rafael was FANTASTIC! Parasailing and other water sports were available for purchase as well. One of the things that kept me from rating this place as excellent was the pitiful work-out gym options available on the property - there was not a gym at all at the Macao and the 1 next door that we did use had very little equipment, especially free weights that were only available in 2 weight amounts, the heaviest being about 11 pounds. However, we had a fabulous time since we are not very picky and have not been to an all-inclusive place in 20 years - if you are particular, there might be better places for you to stay..

Room Tip: We upgraded when we arrived from a superior room to a suite and really enjoyed the ocean view, the s...
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  • Stayed June 2014, 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
    • 4 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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2,180 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 (417)
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A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

We visited the Riu the first week of June. This was our first trip to the DR but our 10th all inclusive trip. The hotel itself is nice, the beach is wonderful and we had a great check-in. However, the food at this resort is less than desire able. I had the same thing for breakfast everyday. The lunch buffet served the same things also. The ala carte restaurants were so-so as well. My husband and I are far from picky eaters and this was the worst selection of food :-(. My only other complaint is that the entertainment seemed to be geared to an older crowd. We are in our 30's and would have loved to hear some music released in 2014.
We traveled with another couple who was also expecting more from a Riu....

Stayed June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peterborough, United Kingdom
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

well let me start by saying we stayed at this hotel four years ago and decided to go back to see what had changed ?
firstly it had been refurbished to a very high standard bedrooms delightful and comfortable, maid service first class but please remember to tip the maids it helps ?.
food wise it was ok with plenty of choices and the three themed restaurants were easy to book
waiter service in bars/beach/pool were easy to get a drink you only had to wait a few minutes.
entertainment staff were excellent especially Janet Jackson plenty to do during the day if you wanted to get involved.
good move to make this couples only you meet people really easy .
would we go back deffinately YES
would we recommend this holiday resort YES
alan Hilary peterborough

Room Tip: e.mail hotel and ask what is available ie pool view they will accomadate you higher floor have high...
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  • Stayed May 2014, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2014

There are lots of positives at this hotel which is why I can understand so many people giving it 5 stars, but for me it lacked in a few simple areas that made all the difference.

Firstly the positives.

1) The staff are fantastic throughout. Very helpful and little touches like waiter service on the beach are a bonus. All of the staff work hard, are pleasant and I could not fault them in any way! Special mention of Danny the evening bar man in the lobby. Carlsberg don't do bar men, but if they did it would be Danny. A little tip goes a long way with these guys, but they certainly don't expect it, which is refreshing.
2) Although I've seen a few negative comments regarding the food, this is one of the best all inclusive hotels I've visited for buffet choice and quality. It was so good we didn't bother with any of the restaurants, all of which set two sittings of 6pm or 9pm and we didn't hear any great reviews about any of them. Furthermore, wearing long pants in such high heat and humidity was far from appealing.
3) The beach is stunning, and made even nicer at the Macau because it's set back, providing a huge palm tree filled area before you reach the main section of beach.
Everywhere is spotlessly clean and modern as the hotel has recently been renovated. However, updating the bedroom furniture has been overlooked somewhat as it's old and shabby.
4) Room service is included, and even though the menu is very small, you can get snacks outside of main meal times.
5) Check in and checkout are swift and no nonsense.
6) good selection of t.v channels in multiple languages
7) As the World Cup was showing they set up a big screen in the auditorium and gave everyone constant waiter service in there.

The negatives
1) possibly the worst tap beer I've ever tasted in my life. There is no excuse for this because I've stayed in 4 other Dominican hotels which all served Presidente on tap, so this has to be an in-house problem. The cocktails and spirits / liquor were all fine.
2) Although an adult only hotel there is no escape from the poolside noise. The main pool is occupied by the entertainment staff who are completely annoying with their twice daily dance, water aerobics, daft games and loud music. The swim-up-pool-bar / waist-high-piss-party is directly next to the main pool, and mainly full of hammered People with their flasks of cocktails. All good, but any adult only hotel needs a chill out pool were you can just relax without endless noise. There is more than enough room between the excising pools and beach to build a quiet relaxed pool were you can just relax in peace for a while.
3) The pools were more like a hot tub than somewhere to cool off. The pool heating either needs to be turned off or significantly turned down during the hottest months of the year. The sea was far cooler and the only place to cool down a little unless you stood under the poolside shower or returned to the room.
4) there are 5 Riu hotels next to each other and not a single decent gym between them. The Macao has no gym on site. There is the poorest excuse of a sweat loft with aged and broken equipment in the Caribbean street next door, and a plush fitness room with zero resistance equipment in the next Riu on from the Caribbean street. Considering the size of the complex of 5 hotels, why there isn't a central quality modern gym is beyond me. Most people who workout at home also want to do this whilst on holiday, or at least have the option. If your a runner then your fine, but for the rest of us you need to go to the local gym about 10 minutes away and pay.

Overall this is a nice hotel, but the negatives mean I wouldn't return, or honestly recommend the Macao to friends. However, lots of people do love it and return year on year.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunrise, Florida
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2014

My wife and I stayed here from June 15 to 19. While the place is beautiful, great food, nice rooms, very nice pool/beach, our vacation was marred by a reception agent named Raphael.

I was informed that reservations for the specialty restaurants had to be made in advance, and I called the hotel a week ahead and was told I couldn't do that and all would be explained at check in.

Raphael checked us in, and I asked about a reservation for that night and he said nothing was available for 6:30, only for the 9:00 time. Way too late for us. So he said we had to have the buffet, but he would make the reservations for the next 3 nights at the specialty restaurants for us. He even wrote them down for us. Well, he never made any reservations, he lied about that, as the next morning I checked and was told he did not have the authority to make them, I had to go make them myself at a special desk. They had no record of any reservations, so lucky I checked or we would have had nothing.

He must have been annoyed, because we booked a room away from the pool where it is very quiet, and we informed him that we wanted a quiet area. He suddenly "upgraded" us to a room overlooking the pool, where loud blasting music goes on until well after midnight. We had a huge lack of sleep, and should have changed the room, but we didn't know it went on every night.

And I mean real loud blasting music. We contacted the manager after the 3rd night and he offered to move us, but it was too much effort for one night, so we put up with it and couldn't wait to get out of there. In short, our vacation was ruined by this man Raphael. Nice place, but we will never go back because of this experience.

What was never told to us was that the procedure is you have to go to a special desk from 7-10 every morning for the reservations, and Raphael never told us that, he just lied and said he made them. A real professional!

Room Tip: If you want to sleep, make sure you don't face the pool area
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Avondale, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2014 via mobile

I stayed here when I went to the DR for the first time and I have to say it was an ok experience. It is not for young adults who are looking for more to do. The pool bars and most of the activities if any close around 5 or 6 pm. My ocean view room was right above the main entertainment area and lobby bar and when I did have to head to bed a little earlier it was hard to sleep with the loud music they had playing which they do once a week I believe as their entertainment and you can dance down there if you'd like. Nothing special. Food wasn't either. I'll choose to stay somewhere else next time.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Southampton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2014

We had our honeymmon here and to be honest I can not find any real fault. The service was second to none and from the moment we arrived we were treated like kings and queens. The staff were professional and curtius. My glass was never empty.
The food was out of this world, lots of different meats and fish to chose from and a wide range of salads and vegtables to chose from.
The deserts were also outstanding.
The rooms were cleanned on a daily basis and clean towles were also daily changed.
I would highly recomend this hotel to anyone. Great honeymoon. thanks you

  • Stayed May 2014, 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 9
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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