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“Great, immaculate property. Friendly staff. Great vacation.” 5 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 #53 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Plainview, New York
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great, immaculate property. Friendly staff. Great vacation.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

The property: The Riu Palace Punta Cana - not to be confused with the other Riu Palace hotels in Santo Domingo and the other areas - looks and feels like a palace - great architecture, majestic interior design - especially the lobby, immaculately maintained lush gardens. It is on the beach and as you walk toward the beach you pass fountains, beautifully arranged green plants and the 3-section pool, with a bar. I like the hotel a lot better than The Ritz on Maui and the Fairmont Orhid on the Big Island in Hawaii. The thing that surprised me most is that the staff never stops cleaning, maintaining, caring for the property at all times.
The room: Our junior suite was huge. As you enter the suite, to the left is the bathroom, to your right is the bed and the "living room", with a neat little sofa and the TV. I was a bit worried about the dreaded musty smell everyone complains about when visiting the Carribeans, but there was a very faint smell that went away when we opened the balcony door. Balcony was big too, with nice chez longs and a place to hang your swimming suits. We had hot water at all times, everything was neat, clean, with organic coffee next to the coffee machine. What surprised me was that there was a mini bar with bottles of Stoli, rum, brandy and gin, and a sign that the alcohol is being replenished every 2 days!!! The fridge was full with water, beer, soda and other drinks. All of this is free by the way.
The food: Food was great in all 5 restaurants. We liked everything. Don't forget to get long pants (men) and flirty dresses - everyone dresses up nicely at night and you don't want to stand out by wearing sneakers and shorts. You will also have to make reservations for the themed restaurants (Japanese, Argentinian, Stake House, and Italian) for a feel-good, sit-down dinner. The main restaurant doesn't require reservations. There's so much food and such a big variety that we were overeating all the time. Good thing you could walk along the beach for miles to compensate for these guilty pleasures:)
The drinks: There is so much alcohol - served everywhere (don't forget, you have lots in your room too), and for free, that I got a bit overwhelmed. I guess most of the guests loved the fact they could down alcoholic drinks 24x7. The capuccino/coffee machines were available at all times, in addition to the bars where you could get coffee, tea and al sorts of juices.
The services: Riu Land for kids - worked very well for us. The staff is very friendly and takes good care of the kids. They have children disco every night at 8 and have games and awards for them. My daughter was very, very happy. The daily entertainment was good - games and sports going on al the time. The night entertainment was good too. The staff had good fun games for the grown ups, and we also had a variery of shows - from ballet, to illusionists, etc. They have stores with everything you might need - floaties, swimming suits, gifts, etc. They have a nice gym, and a sauna with lots of offerings. As guests of the Riu palace we could go to 2 other Riu properties and enjoy all the services/restaurants there. We were not allowed to go to Riu Macau because it was the couples only season and we were with a 6-year old.
The atmosphere: Very relaxed. Very laid back. Everything happens effortlessly, things are smooth. It rains every day but nonetheless it's hot. And it's humid. Considering the nature is not very benevolent, especially with the high level of humidity and so much rain - it is surprising how well kept the hotel is.

Room Tip: Junior suite - very spacious, clean, nice view.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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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 (552)
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

This resort has a beautiful beach and beautiful grounds. the room was nice, the first room we had was very hot and musty. We asked to change rooms and they were happy to move us. All the workers are very friendly and work very hard. Most of them do not speak english very well but we never had a problem explaining what we needed. One negative is that most of the liquor is rum. The vodka is rum and the whiskey is rum. They refill the bottles with rum every night. Otherwise it is a great resort and I would definitely recommend staying there.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Selby, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

We arrived at this hotel on th 5th of November for 2 weeks. on arrival here the hotel was very impressive. We were allocated room 0105, lovely view over the the 3 fountains in front, set out beautifully inside for my birthday. Reception on arrival were courteous and welcoming and remained like this throughout our stay. The house keeping is excellent our room was immaculate after each clean and the towel creations were unbelievable. We visited all the Al a carte restaurants except the crystal and the food in all was of good quality but we felt let down in each restaurant as there wasnt any ambiance, a simple CD playing with themed music would be sufficent. The pool area is nice, although is in need of maintenance and appears to require an on duty manager around this area at all times to control the food on plates smoking and drinking which on some days was totally out of hand with drunken people in the pool just taking over this making everyone elses day uncomfortable and the pool filthy and contaminated. The waiters around the pool worked very well with Victor being exceptiional. We found the food in general good, this often was let down by chefs not taking note of food trays which were empty. Drinks at the cocktail bar were excellent and were served to a consitently good standard.

The staff generally worked well always smiling and attentative however sometimes a tip made them work in an incorrect manner for example if you were being served in a queue and another person came up tapping his glass with money in his hand he would be served immediately, this happened on several occasions at the pool bar.

The gardens are looked after very well and the men working there were always very polite and enjoyed local bantaner.

We enjoyed this hotel very much and Riu in general. The hotels positioning to the beach is perfect.

We noted on other reviews that people have commented about the staff not speaking English only Spanish, we didnt find this a problem and all the staff were highly delighted teaching you their language.

The entertainment in house worked very hard and were always friendly and polite even if you werent joining in. The evening entertainment should not be lead by the in house animation team giving the same people their certificates every night. a high percentage of the allocated night entertainment was taken up by this. the remainder being of 3* quality.

This is our opinion go with an open mind and have a fantastic holiday, we did!

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking the central gardens are superb and the sun most of the morning
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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.
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

For our 40th wedding anniversary we decided to book six nights at an all-inclusive resort. We worked with a travel adviser who had actually been there, and she had some nice advice about this place. The resort is not large, so there is not much walking involved to get to the pool or the beach. This was not a problem for us, but is a nice convenience. The pool is very nice, and quite large, so crowding was not an issue. The beach area is large and filled with natural palm trees for shade and lounge chairs. The ocean has some mild breaking waves all the time, and they get a little rough sometimes, when the wind is blowing. We had rain every day, although sometimes it was only at night, and other times it was brief. When you are wearing only a bathing suit, who cares if get wet from the sky rather than the ocean or the pool? We had dinner in each of the restaurants except the Japanese-theme one, and all the dinners were enjoyable. We had our first dinner at the buffet, but ate so many choices that we can't remember what we had. One of the nicest things about this resort is the friendliness of the staff. Everyone has a smile and a sincere greeting for you. The staff in charge of activities are very involved and are there literally all the time. They get beach and pool activities going throughout the day, get the guests dancing during the lounge music time in the evening, and go out of their way to visit guests everywhere on the property to chat. Language is sometimes an issue, but a friendly smile goes a long way, and they are big on that. A minor inconvenience is that you can't drink the water from the tap. They provide plenty of bottled water, but you have to be mindful of this issue. As an all-inclusive resort, there are no charges for any normal activities, food or beverages, including a mini-bar refrigerator and standard liquor bottles in your room. Check out out pictures.

Room Tip: Most rooms are junior suites, and they are just fine.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the RIU Palace Punta Cana resort in May 2012. On our last night, we ate at the Japanese restaurant. About 4 hours after our dinner, while I was sleeping, I started feeling nauseated and got up and started vomiting. After the first episode of vomiting, I thought that was it. Man I was wrong! I vomited every 2 hours that night, and until 6 am at which time I could not take it anymore and we walked to the only doctor's office in the are which was located at a neighboring resort. I was right away rushed to the hospital (we paid a taxi ourselves as there was no ambulance) as I was getting extremely dehydrated. At the hospital, I was given antibiotics through IV and the doctors kept me in the hospital overnight. We spent about 26 hours in the hospital and then had to leave to catch our plane the next day. By the way, my wife also got a stomach flu although her case was less serious than mine. We ended up paying nearly $1500 for the hospitalization charges. This was definitely not what we expected of this resort given it's 5 * name and reputation. The worst thing is that the front desk completely ignored our complaining about the food at the Japanese restaurant.

Room Tip: Do not eat the Japanese restaurant. If you do, good luck!
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

The RIU properties are very grand when you drive up in your hotel transfer, but the properties lack a lot of things I would expect from a place that rates itself as 5*
There is only one pool for the entire hotel, and by mid-afternoon is packed, with many rowdy guests.
Service is occasionally excellent... there are some amazing individuals who work at this property. However, these are outnumbered by so many staff who can't even offer a smile, and make it seem like a huge effort in whatever capacity they offer (towel service, drinks, etc). Thanks so Sanchez at the buffet, Leo and many crew around the pool, and several others for WONDERFUL friendly service. The outdoor plaza area was the WORST, followed by the lobby bar. I was tipping, and still couldn't get a smile from the staff! I saw a manager several times intervening and pointing staff to tables who had not been served... I suspect there was a systemic issue going on. I understand that staff deal with difficult clients on a frequent basis, but hello, welcome to the service industry. Get on board or get out. Some of us are happy, grateful, and want to give you a tip.
My room stank of mildew, and when I returned everything I brought, including clothes I never wore, had to be completely washed. I didn't realize I'd become accustomed to the smell until I got home!!! The housekeeper responsible for my room was sweet and lovely, and did a terrific job. She amazed me... probably 8 months pregnant, and still paying great attention to all the little details to leave pretty towel art, and somehow sifting all the sand out of the shower!!

The gym was sadly outfitted, and they offered water sports you couldn't take part in because of the surf on this beach. There is a small area you are allowed to swim in, and any small boats are only allowed to traverse the perimeter but not go to the reef, offering a very limited space. I brought my own snorkeling equipment, and couldn't use it.
The beach was AMAZING in the sense that you could walk for miles on end and keep on going!!! However, with a higher tide, there was little width to walk on and it became very crowded later in the day. I went out at 6am and it was divine. That was the highlight of my trip.

You can't really leave the resort unless you go on grossly overpriced group tours. The representative for my tour kept pressing these on me, and having travelled solo through India and Southeast Asia, these are NOT my cup of tea. I had one request... how do I deliver donations for local schools and orphanages. She said I had to pay $60 minimum to ride on a 6x6 bus with 50 other people to a 'local school' and see the 'real life' of people in the DR. Uh-huh. I called the Rotary Club instead and they happily picked up my items for schools that aren't on the tour, and for children who really need the clothes and school supplies.

Food... well, I was somewhat disappointed but at the same time I'll eat pretty much anything. I've been to Cuba several times, and found it on par. Most food was flavourless, and everything is fried. I can't figure out why their tomatoes and watermelon have no flavour at all... but the passion fruit was terrific. At least I could ask for Tabasco at breakfast. The Chef's station at the buffet tended to have the best offerings... a seafood stew, curry, lobster or another specialty.

All in all, I was bored stiff, and this was not the right choice for me. For someone who loves to lie in the sun, it would probably be much more idyllic. I'd prefer to go back to Cuba... the staff AND the clients at the resorts in Cuba are so much friendlier, and that's what makes a holiday fun and enjoyable.

Room Tip: I had a first floor room and it stank of mildew. I don't know if higher up rooms are better or...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Sutton Coldfield
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

We have recently returned from this hotel which was to celebrate my wifes 50th birthday. The holiday booked via Thomson over 12 months ago had special room requests that were not honoured when arriving at reception. However having explained the situation we were relocated to room 1112 which was a perfect location.The hotel was pure luxury with a very impressive reception area,all the restaurants offering great service and selection,the themed restaurants were something special with great food,just a shame you could only book from 8.00am 3 days in advance.The pool areas were well maintained and there was never a problem obtaining a sunbed or umbrella. The pools did tend to get dirty by the end of the day,but this was down to "drunken americans" spilling cocktails!!.In relation to the rooms they were spacious and clean although there was evidence of that damp musty smell mentioned in other reviews.Once the air conditioning was in use it went away but I have to admit on opening our suitcase on our return all items smelt,even those that had not been worn.I am not sure if this musty smell is isolated to this hotel or the general Dominican Tropical climate as this was our first visit to the Caribbean,perhaps others would like to comment on this. This Riu is in need of a little (TLC) as the exterior building and the inside of our room showed a requirement for repainting. Contrary to belief you are not welcome to use the facilities at the Riu Bavvaro or Riu Maccao,no explanation was given for this. The courtesy bus service was a little hit and miss and the trip to the designer shopping mall was a complete waste of time as you could not afford to buy anything. The evening entertainment was a big let down and comprised basically of the daytime animation team taking to the stage!!,I would have expected more professional and varied acts over the 10 day period.The drinks and service in the restaurants,pool area and the beach was first class with branded labels available if asked for.This hotel is very large and attracts guests predominantly from America,Canada,Brazil and Argentina,there are very few Europeans.The americans were very loud particularly around the pool bar,often disturbing other guests.As a seasoned traveller this review does appear somewhat negative,but after all it was the most expensive holiday I have ever had and my expectations were very high.It is a shame it fell short in some areas.I would be interested in the views of other readers together with those of the Hotel management.

Room Tip: Ask for inward facing room
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 5
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
#40 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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