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“Experienced traveler” 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 #51 of 101 Hotels in Punta Cana
buffalo,ny.
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Experienced traveler”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

Just returned from Riu Palace Punta Cana on April 14th, went with 2 other couples, pros: property very clean,beach very clean, workers very friendly, although once you tip, they always look for you..had some in restaurants competing with each other to get us..
Cons: paid for Premium Liquor, it is NOT!!! Had talks with front desk and beverage manager who than gave us or own bottles of premium alcohol ..No matter which bar you went to, they will have bottles of Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and Stolli Vodka but that is NOT what is in bottle!!! We actually had them pour from bottle what they were trying to give us and than had them open a new bottle and smelled them and you can definitly tell the difference..If you do not want to serve premium alcohol than don't offer it!! We 3 couples would have went elsewhere..feel cheated that we did not get exactly what we paid for.
FOOD- a little below what we have had at other Riu's..some restaurants are better than others..Buffett is just ok..wish they had a grill going at beach so you wouldn't have to go to a restaurant ..
Overall, clean place, very nice beach , if you have nothing to compare it to than it is fine, but if you have stayed at other Riu's and other chains than it is below par.

Room Tip: Stayed on 2 nd floor, really didn't hear noise, there are elevators if on higher floor.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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Bemus Point, New York
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

I am a Travel Consultant who has been to the Dominican Republic more than 15 times...I have toured or stayed at most of the resorts in Punta Cana and La Romana.....Every year I bring a group and stay at a resort which must have certain amenites for my group. They count on me to
bring them to a resort I know they will be happy with. The Riu Palace Punta Cana was supposed to have everything my group requires and for the most part they did..... What did this resort do for me to give a 3 star rating?????? They cheat on their alcohol ......They say they have international brands and they do....BUT, they refill those bottles with cheap subsitutes....If you pay exta to go to a resort that offers international brands they should be giving you what you ask for.....My husband caught the pool bartenders refilling bottles with unlabled junk....Every night at the lobby bar we had to argue with the bartenders over what was actually in the Stolichnaya Vodka bottle....It tasted like a very cheap watered down Tequila....Ever had a Tequila dirty martini?????We actually made them open a new bottle and made them smell it....It was terrible....The second time that I made one of the Managers come over to the lounge bar he admitted it and then blamed their corporate office....Nice work RIU..... I will not be booking any Riu's in the Dominican...Which is too bad because I book a lot of people .......... The resort is beautiful, beach beautiful, food was fair.........But, I want to stay at a resort that actually has what they say they do........

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

We arrived at RIU Palace in Feb 2013. The staff was welcoming and friendly as well as efficient. Our room wasn't ready yet so we wandered around to see the resort. It is beautiful with well manicured grounds that are constantly being attended to. The pool is great with lots of shaded areas as well as personal umbrellas. The beach is beautiful with plenty of lounges. We had lunch in the buffet and there was a wide variety of choices. Anyone expecting gourmet meals at an all inclusive should choose another venue. That being said, the food overall was good. Now for the BUT. We were taken to our room which was roomy with a fully stocked mini fridge, self serve bottles of rum etc and was very clean. However it was very warm. We were told by the front desk to give it time to cool. We went out, had dinner, enjoyed the local entertainment in the on site theater and returned to our room. Still very warm and humid. For FIVE DAYS of our 7 day stay we had NO AIR CONDITIONING. Every singe day we personally went to the front desk and were assured someone would take care of it. On Wednesday I finally was able to meet with the manager who was otherwise unavailable for some reason and he said we could change rooms. After 5 days of heat and humidity in our room with little if any relief from open balcony doors and taking a shower we did not want to pack up, unpack and pack again to leave on Friday. Too late for that solution. Within 2 hours of meeting with him magically, we had refreshing and cold air conditioning. When we got home we emailed RIU which has their corporate offices in Spain so there is no way to talk to someone unless you are willing to make an international call. We received an automated response that our email was received, they appreciate pot travel input and would respond within 20 business days. NO RESPONSE! Just sent another email, received the exact same automated response

Beautiful place, clean, good food, comfortable size property and very nice staff for the most part. BUT front desk customer service is full of empty promises if you have an ongoing problem. Loved Punta Cana with its beautiful weather and beaches and will return BUT...to a different resort

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 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.
cresskill, NJ
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

First, before I forget, special thanks to courteous people at the hotel:

Garcia @ La Altagracia
Luisa, my room cleaning lady
Miguel and Margarita @ main buffet
Raphael @ La Bodega

Bad boys

Louis @ plaza - he selectively provided services and I really hate him. never fulfilled my orders.
Victor from Prieto - he tried to overcharge us for excursions in every possible ways.

---------

Good

1. Location - very close to the airport. we got off first and picked up last.
2. FOOD - THE best ever. Excellent presentation.
3. Servers - they deserve 6 stars. Best services period.

BAD

1. Smokers - a lot of them. There is a plaza where all restaurants are and people before and after dinner smoked like H. One sports bar at the main lobby smelled so bad I just could not stay more than one minute. There are pool tables and you pay $3 per game. You will find a ashtray in every room. Which means people smoke in the rooms. Smokers everywhere.
2. Pool - only one pool and overcrowded. many smokers, of course.
3. Room - small and musty smell. don't try to change the room unless it's really bad. it will be the same most likely. My friend had to pay $40 tips for changing rooms.
4. Beach - Nice sand, but.... too narrow and too many people walking around. WHY???? Why they walking back and forth like zombies? So annoying. Maybe there are four hotels next to each other.
5. Bad cocktails - nothing to drink. just Presidente or soda.
6. Noisy - the hotel was built like a stadium. If you get a garden view room, you better stay up late.
7. Not kid friendly - no wonder not many kids around. no kids' club. they will stay with you all day.
8. Room service - don't try. I mean it. nothing to eat. But the buffet is beautiful. You should come down.
9. Wines - not good. still better than bad cocktails. All bartenders must be re-trained in Cancun.
10. Safety - They still use old key system. Anyone can come in your room any time, mini bar guys, housekeeping, managers etc. And the safe is very small. So keep anything valuable in your trunk and lock it.

It seems like more bad things than good things, but Food and Services at restaurants easily outweigh all bad things. I've been to many places, but it's on the top of the rankings right now and it will stay up for a long time for sure.

For excursions, you should deal with those guys like buying a used car. They will entertain your offer at the end. If you pay more than 60% of what they ask you are paying too much.

Other Riu hotels except Bavaro suck. You can't expect anything similar to Punta Cana. So it's either Riu Punta Cana or Bavaro. That's it.

One more thing. People at the airport will try to rip you off. Always check your change especially when you pay airport fee, $10. They will intentionally give you less. A United Airline check-in guy also tried to pick up $35 even though I didn't have to pay to check in a bag since I'm a member of United Chase. It's not a mistake. He knew but demanded anyhow. Be careful.

That's it. It was a great vacation and actually I may go there again. :)

Cheers!!!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Dallas, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

Great trip! Was there in 2011 at a different resort that I was not impressed with...I loved this resort bc it had a more adult feel. Not many kids, thank goodness. The location was great, and so was the weather. So here are the basics: food was sub par which is to be expected, italian and japanese restaurants were the best. Drinks were great and the mini fridge was well stocked. They bring fresh towells and extra bottled water every night as a courtesy, you don't even have to ask for it. Majority of the staff was great, the woman who does the reservations for the restaurants was a real b****, but I just ignored it bc everyone else was great. (All males over the age of 14 have to wear long pants in the restaurants, they are very serious about this and it is very annoying so just bring pants.) Very clean, the cleaning staff works hard (I left them tip money in an envelope when I left). The pillows and the beds suck and everything smells like mildew, my advice? Have another drink and get over it, they don't have central AC, just some sort of de-humidifer thing so of course it's humid and everything smells like mildew. I don't spend much time in the rooms so it doesn't bother me. The beach and the pool are great. When you check in ask for an extra key, they use old school ones and only try to give you one, so if you have multiple people in the room ask for an extra. (I lost mine in the ocean one night and went to the front desk and got another with no problem, so I know they keep plenty of extra's.) Take lots of small bills for tipping, it goes a long way (ie: you will get your drinks faster). Look up minimum wage in the dominican, after you do that you will want to tip more. Snorkel, snuba and speed boat excursion was a blast, other peeps in my group did the zip line and loved it. Warning: When you are outside of the resort you will see lots of stray starving dogs and hookers, so if you have kids you may want to keep an eye out for that. Unlike many resort area's you don't go into "town", you don't want to, stay in or around your resort unless you are going on an excursion. At the RIU there is a night club at the adult only part of the resort up the road, you can take the shuttle and then walk back on the beach. FYI- even though you are still technically in the resort you have to pay for drinks at the night club. Also, they let the staff go there and they will hastle you to buy them drinks. Also, I'm not sure the resort is aware but they also let some locals in, and by locals I mean prostitutes and their pimps. Some of the guys we were with were approached with this but just ignored it. One of the girls I was with was followed in the womens restroom by a man and then he tried to get her to buy pot. She said no and then left without any problems, and so did the rest of us after that incident. The night club was fun but I would not suggest going if those types of things freak you out. Perhaps management will read this and do something about it! I think that about covers it. Message me if you want to know specifics!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We stayed at the Riu Palace, Punta Cana, Dominican republic from 2nd - 9th April 2013. After reading other people's previous reviews we were a bit apprehensive, but after staying at this resort we would like to say how we found it.

In short it was amazing. Beautiful hotel and scenery. Extremely friendly staff who would bend over backwards to help you, whether you tipped them or not (which we did most of the time). The rooms were spotlessly clean and comfortable, and kept that way the whole week.

We only tried one of the a la carte restaurants (La Altagracia - Steak & Grill restaurant). The food here was excellent. The rest of the time we ate in the main buffet restaurant, which was also excellent. It had a massive choice on offer no matter what time you turned up and again the staff were extremely friendly and helpful.

Nothing was taken from our rooms as some other people have mentioned previously. The only very minor problem that we had was a leak from the air condition quite late at night one night. We reported this to reception and within 10 minutes a man came to the room and the problem was fixed within 30 minutes - top notch service.

We would highly recommend this resort, which catered extremely well for people of all ages.

  • Stayed April 2013, 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Athens, GA
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

My husband & I stayed at the RIU Palace Punta Cana from March 28th-April 2nd along with another couple. Our transfer from the airport was with CocoTours. Even though they weren't standing there waiting with a sign like we had been told, when we found the booth, the attendant was very efficient & a van was waiting for us at the curb when we walked outside. The driver that returned us to the airport was very punctual! The resort was beautiful!! Upon arrival the bellhops immediately took out luggage & showed us to the checkin desk where we were given fresh juice to drink while we waited to be checked in. We requested rooms that were located near to each other & they were very eager to please us & get us into rooms that were ready for checkin immediately. We were given our keys & directed to our rooms, the bellhops brought our bags within 10mins. Everything was very clean & just how it appeared in the pictures online. I had read a lot of reviews prior to our travel date & there were a few very negative reviews that worried me, but we found everything to be very satisfying! There were complaints about a musty smell in the room---yes, this is true at times, but what do you expect---it is a very humid, tropical place. I just brought some fabreeze fabric spray for the bed & a concentrated room spray to freshen things up when needed---no big deal!! The beds may not have been as luxurious as my own bed at home, but I didn't really expect it to be! The resort was well maintained & beautiful. I was never inconvenienced by housekeeping---my room was always clean, with fresh towels & mini bar stocked while we were out of the room. The food & drinks were plentiful! The beach/pool waiters were very efficient & came around regularly. We did bring a large Tervis tumbler from home so that we didn't need our drinks refreshed as quickly as we would have if we were drinking out of the plastic cups that were provided. The beach was gorgeous & we never had trouble getting 4 chairs together near the water!The pool chairs were very crowded at a very early hour but we didn't come for the pool! The entertainment staff was entertaining! The beach massage was very relaxing, especially after a few fruity drinks! We loved this resort & would definitely recommend it to our friends!

Room Tip: We were in room 3029 & it was a corner room, so it gave a bonus extended balcony that we did not...
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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
    • 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.
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#23 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 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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