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“Went there on an award recognition trip, would indeed return for vacation.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana

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Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa de Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #53 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Hyannis, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Went there on an award recognition trip, would indeed return for vacation.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2011

Given this was an award trip, I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised, and would consider returning here on my own dime. This was my first introduction to the Riu Palace experience, and I'd like to try the Riu again.

Actually, contrary to previous reviews, I found the buffet to be acceptable. Way better than typical cruise line buffets. The specialty restaurants were a nice break from the buffet, but didn't offer extraordinary food. If dining at the buffet, stay away from the left side of the seating, as the bus-cart traffic sounds like you are sitting under the elevated trains of Chicago.

The beach was beautiful - and much cooler with its breeze than the pool area. Plenty of low palms provided necessary shade - provided you got out there early- mid-morning to claim your spot.

The spa pricing was reasonable, but the service was not over-the-top. I'd rather pay more for spa service, and get more in return.

The beds are indeed "firm"... if you are used to a memory foam bed, then this will be a shock.

There is a Casino shuttle which makes the rounds every 10 minutes to take you to the Casino at the Rui Palace Macao - still within the larger compound of 4 or so Rui properties. The Casino seems about the same size as riverboat casinos, and offered a good diversion from typical resort activities... and oh, they served the strongest "free" drinks on the compound - I wonder why ;-).

Any final wishes? I wish I had brought a fistful of singles for token tips - as the staff is deserving of a little extra recognition, even though this is an all-inclusive resort.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (546)
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2011

There was a group of 9 of us, most in our mid-30s. No one had any complaints whatsoever. We were just happy to be somewhere other than Chicago that was warm, sunny and beautiful. Can't believe it was only a 4-hr flight away!
We definitely took advantage of the stocked minibar and liquor dispensers in our room. Our room was cleaned thoroughly daily--no complaints there. The front desk staff were always smiling, helpful and very friendly. The pool bar staff were very friendly and happy all the time. They didn't mind bringing our drinks to the beach.
The views of the water, blue skies, sunshine and palm trees are unbeatable. The hotel lobby was gorgeous.
I am giving 4 out of 5 stars because the nightlife was just OK and we had a hard time trying to find any decent nighlife within all the Riu resorts.
Not going to comment on the food because we were not there to eat; this is all about getting away and relaxing.
My only complaint is that we had to leave.

Room Tip: Request which floor you want at check-in
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  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Springfield, Massachusetts
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2011

Just returned from a week in paradise! The hotel is beautiful from every angle - Hotel lobby was very impressive. Our check in was quick and easy, even though we were traveling with a large group. Our room had a great view, however as soon as we walked in the musty smell that everyone mentions was very noticeable. Was it bad enough to spoil our vacation? Absolutely not! We kept the screen open on our balcony and after a few minutes we didn't even notice the smell. (However all of our clothes had to be washed or dry cleaned upon returning home)
Our housekeeper Josie took very good care of us and left us daily towel creations. All of the staff were friendley and very accomadating. One of the most special was Pamela the greeter who works in the buffet. She was wonderful and we hated saying goodbye to her.
We ate in the Steak House and the Brazilian restaurants ---neither was very good. We were much happier with the buffet -- my husband -a more adventuous eater -loved everything. I was a little more careful however I always found something I liked.. Breakfast was my favorite meal - I became addicted to the smoothies!
Pool area was nice, but the beach was spectacular! Soft white sand and balmy breezes...your choice of sun or shade. Heaven!
The best thing we did was the Outback Safari. This is an excursion that shows you the real Dominican Republic. Our guides were Angel and Raymond and they were funny, informative and just so nice! Angel combined facts about the country with his own personal experiences growing up. We visited a school (if you ever do this excursion - please bring any school supplies that you can - pencils, crayons etc- it is so needed) We also went into the mountains to a typical Dominican home and learned about the production of coffee, cocoa, and coconut oil . Very informative
All in all - one of the best vacations ever and we will return!

.

  • Stayed March 2011, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2011

We just got back from the Riu Palace Punta Cana and absolutely LOVED it. We have traveled through Apple Vacations for the past 20+ years to various locations and have never had a problem with any Riu Palace we have stayed at (5 to date).
The weather was beautiful, the white sand* beach was amazing and went on forever, the amount of beach loungers were plentiful (unlike Bahia Principe which I would never recommend after seeing their beach traffic), the food was unbelievable and we never bothered with the a la carte restaurants and the staff was wonderful specifically Wanny & Mellow in the Buffet dining room (note my pic is w/Wanny).
Overall we rate this vacation a huge success.
On a general note if you are looking for lots of night life and a crazy good time do not plan on staying at this hotel as it is very low-key and absolutely perfect for travelers who wish to relax (like us).
Thank you again to the entire Riu Palace Punta Cana staff as we had one of our best vacations ever.
* Note: we consulted TripAdvisor.com prior to traveling and someone indicated that the beaches were not white sand... not too sure where this person was but I don't believe the sand can get much whiter than Bavaro beach!!

Room Tip: Walk the entire Riu grounds.
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  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mpls, MN
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2011

The Riu Palace is a large, well appointed resort with a beautiful beach and sparkling turquoise blue water. Upon arrival, our room was being repainted (imagine that) after visiting the front desk manager, Santiago, we were upgraded to a Jr Suite for our family (teenage daughter). It was lovely, facing the coourtyard with a view of the pool.

We spent most of our time at the beach - fantastic. Waiters around constantly offering water and drinks of all kinds. PLenty of chairs available. Nice breeze for most of the trip. After walking the beach in both directins, the Palace definitely had the best beach facilities.

We quickly found a great staff member, Ceasar, at the pool bar. With some friendly banter and a few tips, he took care of us everytime we saw him. A wonderful guy.

I am always amused at those who complain about the food and drink at all inclusive resoorts. There really is no incentive for these places to spend more on youonce you have purchased the trip! The drinks were ok. The wine was of a poor quality - unfortunate.

We found the food passable. There was always something to like - fruits and salads were fresh and good. Breakfast had many great choices, especially the smoothie bar. Same with lunch.

We ate in the Gourmet, Italian, Brazilian and the Steakhouse. I would pass on the latter two. Quality of meat is fair to poor. We had good meals at the former. Note that they tend to overbook, so keep your little ticket that you get when you reserve. Also, get there around 7:30-40 AM as they tend to start aking them before 8.

We took an excursion to Sanoa Island. LOOOONG bus ride and realy not worth it unless you like a catamarnan ride. The isalnd is not much, pretty disinterested an inattentive servers, ok food and it was a long day. Could have spent it on the beach!

Health club juts ok.. Old equipment, but gets the heart pumping.

Overall service was good. Very friendly and pleasant people. Brush up on your spanish - it helps. Also, I am a tipper. With the amount of money spent on the trip, spending anpother $50-100 on tips seems like a small price to pay, and it works. We tipped the hosuekeeper and met her face to face. We tipped at each meal and occassionally for servers for drinks, and of course my main man, Ceasar.

If you want to relax - great place.

If you area gourmand or like to get "off resort" skip it.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brentwood
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2011

When we arrived we were put in a suite on the lowest floor and the second night we had an infestation of cockroaches so bad that we had to change rooms. We checked out a second room on the same floor and wing and it, too, had cockroaches. Then we were taken to a suite on the same floor but in the other wing and it appeared roach free but the safe door was hanging off, so we spent the night in a regular room and the next day were put in a suite on the lobby level and were able to get through the remaining nights with only 2 cockroaches that we killed.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Ohio
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2011

We were so happy to get out of the cold north winter weather and land in this lovely country with such lovely people. The Hotel is beautiful, and the people working here are so nice and quick to please. Our room was a Jacuzzi suite and it was beautiful with a lovely ocean view. We worked very hard and long hours to take this trip so it was long overdue! We traveled with another couple who has been to many beaches and said that this was the best beach ever. Lots of palm trees for shade if needed and white sand beach that was very well cared for and clean. There were a few topless ladies about, but it didn't offend us. It seems like most of the guests here are more mature, so not many children there. The resort is kept so neat and clean. The pools were so nice and there were plenty of chairs there and at the beach. I will try to address some of the questions that I had before we went.
The rooms have a coffee maker and hair dryer. Plenty of towels and face cloths.
The rooms were musty smelling. We brought a "damp rid" to hang in the closet which helped so much. The closet was a big walk in closet, and this kept it nice and fresh. I took a can of Lysol spray and Fabreeze. I also brought scented candles. If I get to return I would take a plug in air freshner. These all helped and the smell was not a big problem, even with my allergies. The bedding and furniture do not smell musty nor do the pillows.
We also encountered a few "visitors" in the form of creepy crawly bugs. When the lights went on a few did manage to scatter about. I know I would never put up with something like this in the US, but I am told that there is not alot that can be done about this in the climate. For these reasons I could not give this hotel 5 stars.
We were always well cared for by the staff and any problems we had were quickly addressed. When we arrived our air conditioning was not working and we called and they came at once and replaced it. We were happy to tip the staff at every chance we could because it seems that they work very hard to make the visitors happy.
The food was plentiful and there should be something for everyone. We did visit the steak house restaurant which was fine, but chose the buffet for the rest of our meals. I did order room service one morning which never showed up. I didn't bother calling because of time limits, but I would bet that they would have done their best to bring it. The food is not gourmet, but is nice and plentiful.
We sampled many of the drinks and kept our Bubba mugs full of the Brahma Beer! This is the only beer served at this resort, and being a Corona drinker I can say it was very very good beer!!!!!
I will look back on this trip and smile and would consider returning to this resort. It is a great value for the money and we had a great time!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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 Punta Cana

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 Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#23 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#47 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana * Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Macao, Riu Taino, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu * 4-story building * Surrounded by 63,000 m2 / 75,000 sq. yards of lush gardens * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Hig??ey * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int???l. Airport ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Punta Cana Riu Palace
Riu Palace Hotel Punta Cana

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