A group of ten of us went down to Punta Cana in December for a bachelorette party. We booked Riu Macao as it was cheaper, but when we arrived we were told that we had been upgraded to the Riu Palace Punta Cana next door. We were excited about the upgrade because the Riu Macao looked pretty old and as if it had seen better days. Unfortunately, the process of moving from one hotel to the other ended up taking about 4 hours. First we had to wait in the lobby of the Riu Macao for a few hours, then a van came and drove us to the Riu Palace, and then we proceeded to stand and wait around for more hours, as the sunshine flittered away. Literally as soon as we finally got our rooms, the rain started and it didn't go away for about 48 hours. So all of the time we could have been enjoying the sunshine the day we arrived was lost to waiting for these people to check our little group in to 3 rooms! It wasn't until I started nearly screaming in Spanish to the men at the front desk in Riu Palace that "we had been waiting for hours at the desk, please give us our rooma and let us enjoy our vacation!! Enough already!!"...did they finally hand us keys and let us go on our merry way. Seriously - when you have only 3 nights in paradise (and some of our group only had 2 nights!), you don't want to spend hours upon hours checking in.
The rooms were nice and the food was pretty decent. There was a fully stocked bar in the room too which was awesome, although we were never really in the room anyway. The hotel is beautiful and we really enjoyed the staff. We had wonderful, friendly, kind servers at every meal, bar, etc. When my friend lost her glasses on the beach and we couldn't find them all night, the next morning the sweet worker who mans the beach looked and looked until he found them for her. Day and night the hotel has entertainment staff that dance and lead activities and shows. This group of people are wonderful dancers, and friendly and warm people in general. We enjoyed seeing them by day and night. Even the security guards were friendly and warm and wonderful! The Dominican staff at this resort deserve to be applauded (well...front desk aside!).
All in all it was a nice, quick weekend escape. The resort and beach are beautiful and classy. The food is mediocre, but isn't it always at an all inclusive? If you are going to the DR to just eat Dominican food, you should probably head to Santo Domingo or part of the country that isn't just hotels! It was wonderful we got to stay at the nicer resort and pay for the cheaper one. We never got to eat at the fancy, reservations-required restaurant because it was already reserved for the days we were there when we arrived. I'm sure if you stay for a week it makes dining at the fancier places easier. We ate at the Brazilian steakhouse one night, but it was really quiet and boring compared to the main dining room. Plus the best food at the Brazilian place was the sancocho soup: not Brazilian, but Dominican!
The only main concern/hesitation to recommend this place that I have is in regards to the hotel's labor policies. It freaked us all out that the same staff was there morning, noon, night and middle of the night. We left the hotel compound to go dancing at night and we saw the same security guards when we left and came back from the club, as we did when we arrived during the day. The same thing in the dining room, reception, bars, on the beach, etc. We asked someone how long their shifts are and they said that they do rotating shifts all the time and work weeks at a time. They sleep on the compound in dorms so they can be at work all the time. It would be interesting to look into the Riu labor policies and learn if they have a bad reputation for how they treat their workers. Everyone seemed happy and thankful to work there, but from the outside it really seems like they are enslaving the people who work there. If I worked six hours on six hours off for twenty something days straight I would go absolutely crazy!!
- 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