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“Punta Cana Vacation” 3 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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Ranked #52 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Punta Cana Vacation”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

I reviewed many reviews about this place. In overall place is good, great staff, good quality food ( in buffet) and no so wow in restaurants. Great location and not so far from airport. Rooms: heavy smell of humidity, uncomfortable beds, poor bathrooms amenities.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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2,768 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
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English first
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

The Mrs. and I just got back from celebrating our 15 year anniversary at this property. We stayed 6 nights and overall had a very good time. Let's start with the best stuff...The property itself from the lobby to the grounds are quite grandiose and well-kept. You walk into the lobby and really feel like you are in some type of palace. No issues with the check in process and they gave us a room facing the interior corridor near the pool which wound up being a GREAT spot considering how big this place is. The beach was outstanding as it was huge and it had many palm trees and open chairs where you could rest in comfort in the shade if you wish. Although it was late August when we arrived (we were expecting scorching temperatures), the weather was absolutely fantastic. We had sunshine and highs in the mid to upper eighties and generally a nice breeze. Despite what some have said on these reviews, we found no issues with the staff. They were very accommodating when it came to service at the front lobby, restaurants, bars, and on the beach. They work their tails off and considering that they put in 14 hours a day (or more), overall I thought that they did a very good job without showing the attitude that some are saying in these reviews. The rooms were clean, and fortunately we did not experience the moldy smell that some have referenced in other reviews so I have no major issues to report with the accomodations. The Spa experience was excellent (we decided to do the Couples massage on our actual anniversary day). The prices were not bad at all and we could not have asked for a better experience there from the staff....Now some areas of improvement...The food was good, but not great. We went to 4 out of the 5 speciality restaurants that they had (didn't get to the Italian one). The only disappointment out of the 4 was the Brazilian restaurant. Was a limited selection and only maybe 2 of the meats were good. The best restaurants in our opinion were the Japanese and Steak restaurants. Stick with the seafood and beef dishes in these restaurants and you'll enjoy them! I agree with those who say that the pool should be bigger based on how big this property is. And yes, the pool could be cleaner as well. Compared to some of the other Riu properties on the compound (which you can walk to), the pool here could have been kept cleaner. One other disappointing thing was that there is only 1 ATM machine on the Riu compound and it is NOT at the Riu Palace Punta Cana. So it was an adventure to retrieve some additional cash as the 1 ATM (located on the Riu Caribbean Street) ran out of money when we needed it. The saving grace for us was that there is a shuttle that runs every couple of hours from the hotel to a shopping center called the Palma Real where there were ATM machines and some decent places to shop and get some nice gifts without breaking the bank. All in all, we enjoyed ourselves and will leave with some great memories. My wife and I have never stayed at the same location twice in our yearly travels, and there will be no exception here in this case. However I would recommend this property to those who have not been to Punta Cana before and are looking to have a nice, relaxing time, but don't mind doing a little walking. I would say this was a very good value for the money as you don't have to "break the bank" to stay here.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burbank, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

After reading a lot of reviews for this hotel despite the negative ones, me and my wife decided to book here for our anniversary last August 12 and stayed from Aug 11-16. I got the vacation package by the way from United airlines and you know what, I did enjoy staying in this hotel so much from beginning to end.
Starting from our room which we got (thanks a lot to Esther) the junior suite is located at the 3rd floor, corner of the hotel near the side of the beach facing the fountain/pool. Very nice view. Hotel staff are very nice and helpful, I just don't know about those who complained about them. My guess is, guests who complained are the ones who don't know how to be nice with or rude with the staff. I swear that I never encounter a rude or unfriendly hotel staff. Here's what I can tell you, seat on every table of the hotel and staff (very plenty of them) will approach you to offer you drinks. Food are good (though not cooked the way you want it because it's not America, it's the Dominican so get use to it or just stay in your backyard and cook it yourself). They have a lot of fresh fruit like pineapple, papaya, watermelon, etc. and I mean really fresh. The cocktail drinks are watered down but you can request for a stronger one (especially if you give them extra buck or two because these people earned so little that the inclusive gratuity that you pay is part of their meager salary and not separate). Specialty restaurant are not really too special but I got one experience that is to remember. On our anniversary, I made a dinner reservation at the Stakehouse. Unfortunately, an hour storm surge at the time of our resevation came and that only restaurant is un attach to the hotel, in other word we gonna miss our resevation time. What I did is we checked other restaurant if they are really packed and found out that one of them is not which is the Brazillian. My wife spoke with the manager (Ivan is his name) if he can accomodate us since it's our anniversary and we can't go to the Steakhouse since there's a storm (by the way, restaurants has 2 dinner time reservation from 6:30-8:30 and 9:00-11:00) and he did accomodate us. After we are done with our dinner around 8 the light went off (I thought there's a brownout because of the storm) and then the staff with Ivan got out of the kitchen with candle light approach our table then start singing "feliz aniversaryo" to our surprise with one guy carrying a bottle of champaign and the other with cake. Guests around got surprised too and began clapping and cheered and greeted us. That's one of my best moment of the resort.
In the pool area, there's staff also that goes around and ask you for drinks that you don't need to go to swimup bar to get it, awesome. By the beach (which has fine sand and crystal sea) before lunch, they have some activity like dancing and a little Bachata tutorial and with staff, a table of appetizers and pina colada (virgin or with rum), awesome. And we can visit also other Riu hotels (like Macau, Bambu) and get food and drinks (I just don't know why other say they can't).
All in all, I did my vacation at Riu Palace Punta Cana.
My tip is don't buy something from stalls which they set up around the hotel paza in the evening because it has an enormous prizes unless you know how to bargain. Just go to one of their store located at the back of the hotel near the spa and you will get the regular price.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2012

There was no reception when we arrived. The front desk was rude & unwelcoming. The room had two full size beds pulled together when we had asked for a king size bed. The personnel were less than accommodating. A beach towel was taken from my seat, the attendant stated it was not his problem & would not give me a replacement. The bartender by the pool spoke some sexual content in Spanish to my daughter. When I told him I understood what he was saying & to stop because she was my daughter, he just shrugged it off. After giving us both our drinks, he said something sexual again in Spanish, I had to tell him once again to respect her & me, he never apologized. Outside of the hotel was fun & the only part of the trip that I really enjoyed. The food was ok, not great. The restaurant reservations were hard to come by - 3 days in advance which made no sense because it had to be made before 11am & we arrived after noon time. At the end, the front desk just took our key badges without saying how was your stay, hope to see you again, recommend us to friends, family etc.. My recommendation is to try another place. If you go, brush up on your Spanish you will need it. Bring lots of extra dollars, everyone has a hand out waiting for a tip. Also, the personnel there try to fratanize with the guests after their tour of duty, which should be a no no. This was supposed to be a vacation of a life time, a vacation for family, fun, & relaxation. Instead, I had to keep a close eye on both my daughters who were constantly being hit on by employees at the Riu Palace. They were uncomfortable & in no way asking for the attention. Employees at the Riu Palace Bavaro Punta Cana have a lot to learn about customer service. Adios, nunca mas voy para ya.

Room Tip: If it is not already too late to cancel, get a room away from the main entertainment section.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

Everything about this place was unbelievable.. I was kind of nervous especially after reading so many bad reviews.. But we had absolutely no issues at all. We had amazing service and everyone made us feel like we were at home, I dont recommend the specialty restaurants.. you are better off going to the buffet. Big choice and yummy food! We had the best server at the buffets.. Joel, he was great and very nice always asking if we needed anything . (we went to his section anytime we ate there). Also the pool bar was great.. Mr. D and Cristian make the best drinks !! Sammy Sossa's all the way! :) I don't understand all the bad reviews.. I think maybe their expectations are too high or high maintenance.. idk either way I recommend this place.. It helps if you speak spanish so brush up or learn the basics.. We will be coming back in the future and we will stay here.. Nothing short of amazing for our first Dominican Republic Punta Cana trip!! Oh and don't forget the sunscreen :) and tip your servers :)

Room Tip: We had second floor ,balcony pool view room .. it was a good location ..and just left the ac on ful...
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  • Stayed August 2012, 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.
Heredia, Costa Rica
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012

Just got back from a honeymoon stay here and we're both very happy with the choice we made. The RIU Palace is a great hotel, with beautiful grounds. We got there, check in was very fast, we were taken to the room. The room was fine, large enough for two people. We did pick up on a funky odor for a bit but nothing that didnt go away after a few minutes, what was it I have no clue but it could even have been from the food leftover by the people in the room next door.

The pool was great, the beach is awesome, hard to ask for anything more really.

The food was great, all kinds of meat including lobster, shrimp, mussels, and other kinds of seafood. The only thing I must say is, from our experience, its not worth your time to make reservations for the specialty restaurants. We went to the Steak Restaurant and the Japanese restaurant and were disappointed on both occasions. You're much better off going to the regular restaurant and stuffing yourself there.

The staff is very helpful, they seem like very nice people, they are usually singing as they do their jobs, always greet you with a smile. The entertainment staff is good as well.

Here's a tip: If you walk for 15 mins to the right of the hotel, you will come across a bunch of rundown huts right on the beach thatt sell you souvenirs. You'd think they offer better prices than the store back at the hotel or the airport but the truth is, they offer u ridiculous prices on everything and your constntly haggling for a better price. I ended up telling them on a few occasions, listen i saw this at the hotel for so much, im not giving u X for it, if u want ill give u what they charge for it at the hotel but nothing more. An example of this is the guys that sell u paintings. You end up paying like twice what you would at the airport. Getting them to lower something is a pain in the butt for the most part.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

hotel very clean,food very good,beach top notch,pool great,rooms no problem.staff very good.entertainment for a all in, very good.drinks very poor,not whats on the bottle.you cannot use all the other rui hotels as thompsons stated(who by the way have not repleyed to this complaint.casino is a con.value for money no.£3400.00 for two people two weeks.better value else where.unless you go on trips you cannot go out of the hotel ,to dangerous.hotel shops and the shops in caribean street 3 or 4 x dearer than dr airport.( cigs in these shops 90$,airport 23$).staff mostly great,management didn,t care.overall a good holiday,because we disreguarded the negatives.would i go back? yes.only if the problems were sorted or a big reduction in price

Room Tip: you are paying top price for this hotel do not except a room with a poor view.strongly ask to be mov...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.

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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
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:
#42 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#52 Business 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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