Decent experience, but fell short of our trips to Mexico.
We were at the Riu Palace Punta Cana for just over a week in late Jan/early Feb with a two other couples. We are all around 30, and have previously traveled to Mexico, Cuba and other Caribbean countries.
Food - lots of selection, though little you actually want to eat. The breakfast buffet was just ok, the selection at the lunch and dinner buffet was mostly the same. Often, I felt like I was eating for dinner what I had for lunch. The a la carte restaurants only have seatings at 630 and 9. You are required to make reservations in the morning to eat at them. The 630 reservations usually fill up first and so we ate our meals at 9, which was a little late. Although it was nice to eat at an a la carte restaurant as opposed to the buffet, we all enjoyed the food at the buffet more. Room service was also a disappointment. There are only about 8 options for food and its mostly junk - nachos, fries, dessert.
Drink - but for the canned beer and the "champagne"/sparkling wine, none of the alcohol tasted like it does at home. The one variety of red/white wine was the worst I have ever tasted in my life. The draft beer is also terrible. Canned beer is like gold, and it is only available in some of the restaurants and your mini bar.
Service - the front desk staff was lacking - as were the maids. The maids did not do a great job of cleaning the room, especially the bathroom. On one occasion our door was left ajar after they had cleaned it. The pool/buffet/restaurant servers were generally excellent and a real joy to get to know. The entertainment staff were good, but a bit creepy.
Rooms - The rooms and the interior of the hotel are tired. Although the lobby/lobby bar is grand, it feels dated. We found the guest rooms dark, and had very little natural light. Of course, this could be because of the direction our room faced. The ceiling fans in the room are very strong and if we forgot to turn it off at night we would wake up feeling uncomfortably cold. Our friends had an extra blanket in their closet, but we didn't. We requested one every day but it never came. Also, our "king bed" was two double beds pushed together that easily separated. Needless to say, my husband and I essentially slept in separate beds. Also, the safe was a joke - like everything else, the lock is antiquated and made me question the security of my stuff. The room keys are actual keys, not key cards. I suppose this is fine, but again a little dated.
Pool/Beach - beach was very nice, the wind was a bit strong some of the days. Soft sand and turquoise water was a plus. Like most resorts, the chairs at the pool are a hot commodity and people set out early in the a.m. to reserve them. The drink service at the pool was much better than the beach. Victor was fantastic! I wish there was a hot tub on the property, but there isn't.
Nightlife - In the evening, most people hang out in the courtyard. It is a great atmosphere, lots of people watching and the servers are very attentive. From the courtyard you can view the evening "shows". As expected, these are not very good but are good for an unintentional laugh. There is also a sports bar, open 24 hours, that left a lot to be desired. It was pretty gross in there - the lighting, food, furniture was reminiscent of a dive bar. There is no disco at the hotel. Although I am not a frequenter of nightclubs, it would have been nice to go somewhere to listen to music/dance/drink in the evenings. We were bored some nights.
Overall, our complaints are mostly with food selection and drink. Both of these things may be the norm for the island, rather than the hotel itself. We love Mexico, and find the quality of what we are paying for there much higher.
- 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