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“Great Vacation......Ignore The Naysayers” 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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Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #52 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Birmingham, Alabama
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Great Vacation......Ignore The Naysayers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

I was at the RIU Palace from 12/22 through 12/27 and thoroughly enjoyed my vacation.

The pools and beach were awesome. There is a large standard pool and a smaller infinity pool. The larger pool has a swim-up bar and is just steps away from one of the most beautiful beaches you have ever seen.There are more than enough chairs on the beach and plenty palm trees for shade. Pool chairs get "accounted for" very early in the morning, so be sure to be there within the 8AM hour to put your towel down to hold your spot. You may also want to take a personal item of limited value to place in your lounge chair as well, i.e., flip flops, sunscreen, hat, etc....just to make sure your seat isn't taken.

The room was really nice. The hotel has a bit of old spanish charm to it...lots of ornate decor, marble, gold, ceiling art/fixtures, etc. The lobby is absolutely gorgeous. For those that say the resort is outdated and needs updating, they obviously don't know about quality decor. No, the hotel isn't as modern as some, but its truly beautiful. I had a ground level room and NEVER saw a bug or roach. The climate is humid, so I expected to see a "water bug" or two (as we call them in the south), but didn't. Our rooms were always cleaned, towels were plentiful, and drinks were always stocked.

The resort staff was awesome. My cup was rarely empty and they were very accomodating. There is an English language barrier for most of the staff (they speak Spanish and very little English), but I had no major issues communicating. The staff at the front desk speak english, which is great. They were very, very nice. Although this was an all-inclusive resort, I gave food servers and pool bar staff $1-$2 tips because they work very hard and were good at what they did. Some may disagree, but I believe in tipping for service.

The entertainment staff was just that.....entertaining. They mix and mingled with the resort guests, danced with them at night, and did an excellent job. The nightly entertainment was ok...some nights were better than others. The same group also did yoga and exercises on the beach and by the pool. They did a great job of keeping guests entertained and feeling welcomed. There was nightly music in the main courtyard outside which was quite enjoyable after dinner.

The food was sub-par.....ill say just 'ok'. I am a southerner (American) who loves great food. I didn't go hungry at all, but the food could use some improvement. Some things weren't seasoned well....bland taste, and the variety was limited during some meals. I ate at the Italian restaurant one night and it was really good. I would highly suggest making reservations....and early. Reservations are taken at the front desk between 8-11AM. The soft drinks taste a bit different there. Although the bottle said "Coke" or "Sprite" the taste was odd. I especially noticed the difference in the taste with the fountain drinks from the buffets. It was like a soda fountain with "flat" or overly-sweetened soda. Not to worry, there is plenty fruit juice, wine, and water, which is safe to drink from the bars and buffets. The bottled sodas in the rooms were much better.

The resort grounds were beautiful. The fountains were clean and pretty, the landscaping was well manicured, and everything appeared to be neat and clean. Staff worked around the clock to ensure everything was just right. I never saw any bugs or roaches on the resort grounds, near the pool, or near the buffet areas. I had read previous reviews and was a bit concerned, but never saw anything.

The resort wifi was pretty good, although it may disconnect after extended use. I was able to get on the wifi some days at the pool and even on the beach. The front desk has sign-on and passwords for wifi.

I did not experience any security issues at this hotel. I kept my suitcase locked when I was away from the room and did not leave any valuables out. I kept my cash with me at all times. The safe inside the hotel closet didn't look all that secure. If you lock your valuables in your suitcase, you should be fine.

The RUI Palace was great and the weather there is perfect. It's warm, but not hot enough to break a major sweat. I would highly suggest this resort and plan to return! Do not listen to the naysayers because you will miss out on a great vacation at a great resort.

  • Stayed December 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
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English first
New Braunfels, Texas
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

From the time we walked into the lobby until the time we left our stay was exceptional! The hotel is very clean, no musty smell in rooms as i read prior to going. Housekeeping was excellent each day. The food was very good and plentiful! Always an open restaurant on the property if you are hungry at any time. The beach was beautiful and kept clean. Plenty of chairs and shade. Towel service was great and the towels are very nice. Do NOT pay attention to negative reviews, they simply are not true. Will definitely go back! Stayed Dec 24 to Dec 28 2012.

  • Stayed December 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carthage, Missouri
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Just got back. Not my favorite vacation (although the beach and the accomodations should have made this #1 on my list.) After paying a huge price for this ALL INCLUSIVE, it seems as if you must pay for everything again while you are there. Almost every worker there has a side gig from the pool man to the front desk. Most view Americans as rich and expect them to up the ante for any service. Initially, front desk pocketed money for a room change $150, pool man saves seating so you pay him for a lounger $5 a day, pay for bar maids and outdoor seating at the buffets. UNREAL!!!

I felt VULNERABLE the whole week. Day 2 the maid went through my belongings and helped herself to several new items that I had purchased for the trip...! Be careful if your maid's name is Marisol.

Never felt safe after that--they don't have the normal safe; it is an old fashioned KEY safe with hundreds of master keys I'm sure. After having the maid lift items, everyday I expected to come in to find out that it had been broken into. Thank goodness this didn't happen!!!

The entertainment committee at this Riu tried... but in my mind fell short compared to other Riu's we've been to in the past. Possibly because of the number of different cultures. The first three days in Punta Cana there were only a handful of Americans. Mostly northern Europeans and Russians. We went for sun and fun but had to find it on our own. Even the planned activities that I chose to participate in, made me feel like unwelcomed.

We love to snorkel and dive. Due to a sinus infection diving was out. Unfortunately, decent snorkeling can not be found close to the hotel. Although there is a reef 1/4 mile off shore, power boats speed through the area and you are likely to end up minced fish food attempting to navigate through the area. We paid for a snorkeling expedition called the "Sunset Cruise" but we were taken to a dead reef for only 30 minutes. I'm sure there is better! I heard Catallina Island was good but didn't have a whole day left after our disappointing cruise to try it.

The hotel has many water toys. Sign up early for appointments or be willing to pay the beach boys off.

Excursions: Horse back riding trip was wonderful! I would recommend this afternoon excursion. Although they were over an hour late picking us up, we were able to race the horses on the beach. Went through the forest and town as well. Very nice excursion for our family. Asking price for pictures were $40.

Room Tip: We upgraded (from an outside room facing maintenance) to a courtyard room by the pool. Thick doors...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
ohio
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

Perfect!

We are a family from the US, stayed December 23 - 30. We had great weather, the hotel was wonderful, service great, food very good. The evening entertainment was lacking a bit but that was fine for us - not high on our priority list.

There were very few other Americans - lots and lots of Canadians and many Europeans - fun variety. English was the main language but it does help to speak Spanish.

We tried 4 of the specialty restaurants and preferred the Brazilian and Italian. Japanese and Krystal (fusion?) were just not our kind of restaurants. (to sign up you need to go to the Italian restaurant from 8 - 11 am and get reservations. They fill up fast but they do let you do more than one day at a time). The buffet always had a good variety of everything so there were no complaints there. We also ate at the steak house for lunch most days and found that to be good also. The bar service was always great and we went next door to the bar there also - very similar. It was nice to have the option of other hotels.

The gym is small but was never crowded. The stretching and water aerobics were not exactly professional but something active to do. We spent a lot of time walking miles on the beach. One day we walked down to the Hard Rock which was about 1 1/2 miles each way. It seemed exactly like Vegas - very interesting and everyone should check it out. The casino at Riu is very small but they made great daiquiris. (it was by the disco, not sure which hotel)

We did the water sports - catamaran and kayaks. It fills up quickly so make an appointment early and maybe a day in advance if you want to try this. We had great weather so that helped.

I have heard others saying they couldn't find chairs by the pool or beach but that wasn't the case when we were there. There always seemed to be plenty. Service around the bar was great - there was always someone offering a drink. We took many one dollar bills and tipped generously but it didn't seem to make a difference if one tipped or not - still got great service.

It was just a perfect week. I would go back in a second and will highly recommend Riu Palace Punta Cana to everyone!

Room Tip: avoid rooms by the housekeeper's area - they are very loud at many times during the day - especi...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Appleton, Wisconsin
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Riu Palace Punta Cana, December 2nd through the 17th. We both thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s on a great stretch of beach which is one of our main drawing points. There are plenty of beach loungers and shade provided naturally by a multitude of palms. In addition to the natural beauty of this spot, the next best thing about the Riu Palace Punta would probably be the staff! The staff was entirely friendly, accommodating, professional and attentive beyond pretty much anywhere else we’ve stayed! Five years ago we stayed at the Riu Bambu (just next door) and we enjoyed visiting their pools this time as well. We also enjoyed visiting the Naiboa pool and bars. The Riu properties are all in a row which is nice.

Fun: I brought an inflatable lounger to float on in the pool and had a blast riding on waves in the ocean. I left it with another guest upon leaving in hopes they’d enjoy it as well, which beat deflating it and repacking it.

We always bring a insulated cup to get beverages in. They stay colder, hold more and are more environmentally friendly than constant use of disposable cups.

The staff appreciate tips even a buck or two goes a long way, it’s not required or expected but very much appreciated! Especially the housekeeping.

In my opinion the buffets were phenomenal! We have stayed at 4 brands of All-Inclusive hotels and I think that the Riu brand has the best food. This is our 4th Riu stay in Mexico and Punta Cana. The food variety was amazing. The drink selection is fantastic. Our room was very comfortable. Yes, the rooms smell “musty”, but the only people who complain about this are those who have never been anywhere in the Caribbean. It is caused by humidity. It’s like this everywhere.

We have no real complaints about this property and would stay here again. If I were to get really nit picky, the bedspread could have been heavier/nicer/newer.

It’s quite funny because just like our stay at the Riu Bambu five years ago, the only thing we found to be excruciatingly distasteful, had absolutely nothing to do with the hotel itself or its management but rather the guests! I do not know where “these” people come from but both times there were a plethora or rude guests. Last time I called them Europeans but that is not really fair to categorize people like that. Maybe from France? I really do not know. But both times there were many guests who cut you off at the buffet and practically run you over to get their food first. Butting in line for drinks and such. It’s quite amazing. I started wondering if I was invisible, ha ha. Don’t let the rude “me first” people ruin your trip though, this is a great place to vacation!

  • Stayed December 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shiloh, NJ
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

I am going to do a little comparing here. Went to the RIU Palace Mexico at this same time last year. I have to say they look pretty much the same as far as the layout. The food at the Riu in Punta Cana was only average. They had a good variety, but always the same. Breakfast was the best meal. The specialty restaurants were nothing special. Only went twice. The food at the Riu in Mexico was fantastic with the specialty restaurants being top notch ! The service in both places was excellent but a much bigger language barrier in Punta Cana than in Mexico or Jamaica. The RIU must have excellent training programs for their staff as they really are great everywhere we have been ! This is our third time at a RIU property and the service at all of them is beyond compare anywhere ! And all of the RIU properties we have visited are extremely well kept and clean !!! The beach in Punta Cana was gorgeous !! Powder soft sand and nice walkways between the resorts with lots of places to shop. Speaking of shopping - there were vendors on property most every night. They were quite pushy and we found ourselves trying to avoid them after the first night. Beach is Mexico was not as nice. The beds in Punta Cana were hard and uncomfortable compared with Mexico, which were much better and the rooms could do with a little updating although they were immaculately cleaned each day ! (please ditch the bedspreads) We had a courtyard view on the second floor which was awesome ! Its worth it to pay a little extra for it. As far as the drinks - if you are a wine drinker like me, not very good. Wines were bitter and only one brand was served that I could see. A little disappointing. All the other drinks seemed to be OK and of course you have the in-room bar - Awesome ! You cannot drink the water here or even brush your teeth with it - steer clear of the ice too. But plenty of bottled water is in your room and replenished daily. Very prompt and good room service if you want it. Entertainment is about average. Not much for the young crowd. But fine for us 50 + people. Beach is the best feature here. Lots of servers on the beach, anything you want - lots of things to do if you want to. And very safe to walk. Probably would not return here - because of the food and that is probably the only reason. Better food in other places we have been. Also, be prepared to pay 10.00 per person at the Punta Cana airport as soon as you enter the country. We did not know this beforehand - glad we had some cash with us. The airport is charming. Open air and very,very small ! Don't wait to do your shopping at the airport - there is very little and quite expensive. The shopping at RIU Palace Punta Cana is great. Lots of shops on property and the walkway connects to the other resorts where there is more ! If food in not a big issue for you - this place is great ! Beautiful and another good RIU experience. We will continue to book with RIU. Weather was great too !

Room Tip: Courtyard view! Could hear the music at night and see the lights - gorgeous ! Well worth the extra...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Hartford, Connecticut
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Went with three couples and I must say from check in to check out the staff was so service oriented. The room was very nice and spacious with a small wet bar. The food was bountiful but not that tasty--the breakfast is awesome and the Japanese Rest was very good. The shows are nice and the drinks are plentiful.

My first all inclusive and we felt we got our monies worth!

  • Stayed November 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 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:
#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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