First let me say that the Riu Palace Punta Cana is gorgeous. They take good care of it, and it's immaculate. The food was good; the only two problems we had were 1) in the Brazilian restaurant; one of us got chicken and when she put her fork in it blood spurted out on her plate. And 2) one of our friends took a taco from the Steakhouse at lunch. She screamed and threw it over at me; there was a live roach crawling in it. But other than that.....
The staff was pretty excellent, but overall we found that they are not as helpful or friendly as they were at the Riu Palace Riviera Nayarit. Of course there are always a few greats, like Rodriquez on the beach and Reuben the "chair guy" there. We also found that the servers at the Riu Palace Riviera Nayarit really hustle if you tip them. At the Riu Palace PC, it didn't matter if we tipped or not. We had a hard time getting servers to come around. In general, they just didn't seem available like they did in Mexico.
The beach is lovely. The sand is like flour and the water is a gorgeous blue. Don't bother bringing your snorkel gear; mine never made it out of the room. There was nothing to see in the water, according to others. But the beach is a great place to people watch. And no, like other Rius there are no umbrellas for shade, even for rent, so if you're beach people like us, try and get there early so you can put your chairs around a palm tree. Otherwise, no shade. There is a constant parade of people walking up and down the beach, for those with children, be aware there are plenty of thong swimsuits and bare breasted women walking there.
The entertainment was good; I liked Michael Jackson, and I'm not even a fan! I think the best thing about the Riu Palace Punta Cana was the outdoor courtyard. People gathered there at night before the shows started, and they had entertainment there, too. But one night I was sitting with my husband and said, "What's that smell?" It took me a bit to put my finger on it, but then I realized it was Lorsban, which is an agricultural chemical we use on the farm to kill soybean aphids. My husband quickly realized this is why you see very few bugs, almost no birds, and no fish. Plus, in the U.S., Lorsban has a 48 hour re-entry period. If we use it in a field, we cannot re-enter for 48 hours. Needless to say, we went up to our room.
The rooms are nice and well-kept. The only problem I had with the room was that two of my costume jewelry pieces from home disappeared from there. Together the rings were worth about $70.00, but this was upsetting nonetheless.
Don't miss the banana juice in the morning buffet! I found some mixed drinks good on the beach, but I'm a beer drinker so I pretty much stayed with that. Some of the beer was skunky, though; overall we found the best drinks up at the lobby bar. We didn't go into the sport bar except to walk in and find it was so ridiculously smokey we never went back.
One day my friend and I were sitting on the beach and she said, "Have you noticed we haven't even really explored the grounds?" I said yes, and she said, "Do you think it's A) because we already know we're not coming back, or B) that we're lazy?" I told her it's really C) both of the above. There's nothing to see or do outside the resort (see my review of my husband's 4-wheeler trip which I'll upload next) that's very worthwhile, or for sure it wasn't worth the money. And note that the flea market is quite a hike down the beach!
I forgot to add that there were MANY people sick in the resort when we were there. I ran into a Canadian travel agent that said she doesn't like to send people to the Dominican because so many get sick. That said, they aren't kidding about not drinking the water in the rooms. Stick with your bottled water only, even to brush your teeth.
Oh, and if you see a pretty young photographer on the beach, Elena, get her to take your picture. I've never taken pictures of myself that I like, but she got several good ones, if I do say so myself. She's a genius!
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we went and discovered for ourselves whether we liked it or not. For us, it's just that there are other vacation spots that suit us better.
- 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