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“worse food and hygiene standards experienced” 1 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 #52 of 101 Hotels in Punta Cana
aberdeen
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“worse food and hygiene standards experienced”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

I have used Riu hotels for the past 8 years and will never go back to the Dom Rep. Not ever. We were there for 14 nights and it was for the most part a nightmare for me.

On arrival, despite paying Thomsons £140 extra for a sea view room, we were given a ground floor room with no sea view whatsoever; in addition the room had not been cleaned - one drawer was full of the previous guests used elastoplasts; our daughter's room was also dirty and the bath was missing chunks of enamel. The reception manager was rude to us when we complained, blamed Thomsons for promising seaviews and then changed our rooms the following day. I would advise people never to pay for a seaview room because the rooms either looked out on the courtyard or on to the neighbouring hotels and none have what I would define as a true sea view. The lift between floors was broken more often that it was working so getting to our top floor room was a bit of a struggle. Whilst the maid service could not be faulted in our room, our daughter's maid service was less than satisfactory. We got a queen size bed in our room, she had two double beds in her room. In addition, on three separate days, we returned to our rooms at teatime to find no water to wash with or to flush the toilet. Water problems were throughout the hotel but were rectified after about 30 minutes. Water problems were intensified for me because I became ill about two days after arrival with gastrointestinal upsets. My family also became ill but not as day as I did. So were lots of other guests. Everyone I spoke to had been ill at some point during their holiday. Despite repeat starvation periods for either 24 or 48 hours, when I ate again I became ill again and this continued throughout the 14 day holiday. The Thomsons's rep called one day to see if we were enjoying the holiday and he made no comment at all when my husband told him about me being ill.

Several possible reasons. Guests were urinating in the main pool repeatedly. I watched men at the pool bar drinking all day and never once leaving the pool. Some admitted what they did. Food was well presented but tasted awful, even in the so called speciality restaurants. We tried the Italian and the Brazilian and I thought both were disgusting. Fish was always undercooked (and I don't mean Sushi) or raw in the buffet restaurants. Beef was either undercooked,dripping with blood or so overcooked it tasted like rubber. My daughter ate almost nothing for the first week. We met guests who ate mashed potatoes 2 weeks. Fresh fruit selection was good. I noticed that the containers of juice at the pool bar (used to make cocktails and slush drinks) were switched off at night, not emptied, were left to fester in the heat overnight and were then topped up and switched on at 8 am the following day. I also saw a maid on our last day cleaning the communal toilets at the reception area with the same type of bath towels we were given to dry ourselves - mops don't seem to exist there. No wonder I became ill if this is what's going on. (When I returned home my GP surgery said that Typhoid is rife in the Dom Rep and a week after coming home I still have diarrhoea. Money does not appear to be safe even if kept in the room safe. We noticed that $100 went missing from the room safe and my daughter said that many of the friends she met noticed that $10 or $20 would be stolen from their room safes on a daily basis so all of us started to lock money in our suitcases then there were no more incidents of theft.

Not much positives I'm afraid. Resort was well presented and looked beautiful. I didn't see any roaches or bad bugs - did see lovely birds including pelicans as well as butterflies, occasional lizards and millipedes. Beach and ocean are lovely. Don't expect crystal clear or calm water as the resort is on the Atlantic ocean, not the Carribbean sea, so there are powerful waves. Mini bar and optics are replaced daily and the bar man will provide drinks, eg diet pepsi or 7up to suit your preferences. The entertainment staff work long hours and do a great job but the shows being laid on each night have not changed in 8 years - each Riu presents the same shows, no matter which island you visit, so there is room for improvement here. The excursion to Saona Island (out by speedboat, beach barbecue and return journey by catamaran) was really good. (Thomsons's charge $189, Scuba Caribe did almost identical trip for $89; and I have been on the Thomson's trip previously so am in a position to compare). I couldn't go on any other excursions due to being ill and actually took lots of money home with me (first time ever). My daughter went horse-riding and did the dune buggy trip and loved both of them.

This is the last time I will go to Dom Rep. My experience in Puerta Plata 8 years ago was the same as far as food poisoning goes (in fact the rep called it the Puerta Plata splatter) and against my better judgement we returned as we thought the island is beautiful and the people so friendly. We have been to Riu hotels in Mexico (Cancun and Playacar), as well as in Ocho Rios in Jamaica - none of them were Palace hotels, all were club hotels - and they were far superior to the Riu Palace Punta Cana. It must be Riu standards in the Dom Rep that are the problem as people we spoke to at the airport on the return journey who stayed in different hotels did not have any problems and really enjoyed their holiday. Sorry for being so negative - I don't enjoy reading or writing negative reviews but if you have not already booked a holiday my advise would be to go someplace else.

Room Tip: Ask for rooms on the 3rd floor (top), if you want a view. Courtyard view rooms are noisier than the...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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
Saint Louis, Missouri
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

We traveled May 26-31. I work with the public and understand it is hard to please everyone. This place does not even try.

The food was not labeled you might think you are getting mash potatoes when you are getting mashed turnips. The food was so bad all my family would eat was the snacks we brought with us. In the Don Manuel yes has ROACHES.

The rooms had a smell that I will never forget. There was a water leak in our bathroom and the repair man said no problem but never fixed it. Dripping water can keep you up all night. It was coming from the upstairs bathroom.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Chester, Virginia, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

We chose Riu Palace based on the photos, and were quite impressed as the photos did an excellent job of depicting the facilities. We are beach people and the beaches here were excellent. I was a bit surprised to find that we were on the Atlantic as the waters were reasonably calm. The Junior suite was just the right size and was equipped with a full bar (we are non drinkers) & refrigerators. The entire staff worked tirelessly to ensure we were having an excellent vacation. All of the restaurants were very good, but we preferred the buffet for most of our meals as it offered a great selection on meats and seafood. I did find that everything was cooked "well done"and I quickly realized it was a cultural thing as I attempted to get the chef to give me a steak off the grill and he went to the one that was cooked the most! Two recommendations I would have are that the property needs to update the equipment in the fitness center. Ellipticals, treadmills and stair climbers have all seen their better days and the food in the 24 hour sports bar leaves a lot to be desired. We would definitely return!

Room Tip: Ask for a room at the end of the resort on the third floor. Beach view!
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  • Stayed May 2013, 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

I was a little underwhelmed and I feel guilty saying it, like its a rich people problem. The hotel itself is lovely, the employee's are great. My problem with the place (and this may be a symptom of the whole strip) was a disconnect, the hotel is like a beautiful guided cage, there is the feeling of being completely separated from the local culture in some disneyesque cocoon, with the addition of armed guards on the beach. Some people may buy into this highly contained environment, I found it sanitized and a barrier to experiencing the land and its culture in a natural way. Give me a little 60's styled hotel on a quiet beach in Cuba any day.

While your there have a look at the neighbouring RIU hotels, holy #$%^& do they lower the food standards!! Its heartless how the RIU sells the dream.

If you get the chance head out in a boat cab (or cab-cab) to Captain Hooks for a real taste of the Caribbean with fresh fish and huge lobsters, and other Dominican ppl.

BTW - LOVED the dune buggy excursion.

Room Tip: dont worry about an ocean view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

We just left the DR and had a great time great people. Traveled May 23-28. To be honest I feel bad that I have to report this information but here it goes. The first day we checked in we were given a room with double beds (I traveled with my wife). They changed the room immediately with no problem that room number was 0009. Next we were given room 0023 ( I think that was the number), anyway the room was fine clean and didn't smell. Actually they do a terrific job cleaning the rooms as well and making art with the towels! However, when we went out to the clubs that night and came back to the room I turned on the bath room light and 2 small black baby roaches one was crawling the sink and the other near the mirror. I was able to kill one but the other one crawled behind the mirror. I keep the tissue with the dead roach and left the lights on for the night. The next day we walked to the front desk to report the matter. They immediately gave us a new room 2049 and I was fine clean as all the rooms we had were. However, the front desk staff wasn't too concerned with the issue at first they looked at us as if they didn't believe us then when I showed them the roach they just changed the room still as though this may be common! The worst roach siting was at the when my wife show an adult roach crawling around the plates in the buffet resurant next to the omelete station! I thought she was just kidding until I saw one myself the very next day in the same spot! Again reported this on the day we were leaving and the front desk worker was not concerned. On the plan a passenger to me that he had heard a guest at his hotel complaining about the same thing so I'm guessing there is a roach problem in the resorts in general and not just at the RIU. It grossed us out but hey we still had to eat. I just drank wine to kill the grems! LOL Managment do something about the roaches please!

Room Tip: Check for roaches. They have ants too but that's understandable but roaches no!
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

I don't know how anyone can say this is a five star hotel. I found a huge cockroach in one of the junior rooms, i was then given the beautiful deluxe suite... little did i know, the room was infested with MORE cockroaches (big, small) everywhere i would walk i would see cockroaches all over the floor running under the furniture. The food was eatable but me and my friend both got very sick. Acidity in our stomache. We both threw up & had indigestion. Our stomaches were just upside down. We couldn't eat anything anymore. Everyday was the same food. Even the ALACARTE resto's had the same food, just presented differently. The maid did a very bad job at cleaning our rooms and we used to give good tip! She never washed the sheets. As soon as we got there we noticed our bed sheets dirty & smelly. We had to literally strip the bed so that she would have no choice to give us clean sheets. My friend got her chanel makeup powder stolen... the glasses has lipstick stains on them... it was ridiculous, a pure nightmare. Last but not least, our shower head wasnt working in our first room, they kept telling us it was a general problem except this went on for 6 days and we were there for 7. We were stuck taking a bath every day. The only shower we were able to take was in the DELUXE suite but that was an even bigger nightmare. I would not reccomend this hotel to anyone. It's unfortunate because i was told that it was a very popular resort, but after my experience i will never feel the same about RIU.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
umalas, bali
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

I went to the Riu Palace with my lady who has been on many cruises. It is more my style to stay in hotels and explore the pace I'm vacationing at. Having said that I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed our six days at the Riu Palace.

The staff went out of its way to satisfy their guests. they are all charming young people supporting families or going to college. They are well trained and are happy to have a job in the hotel industry.

i read a few reviews that claimed that the staff was rude. I doubt this is the case. I watched them interact with the guests and never saw a single incidence of rudeness, or even them talking about the guests in a negative way amongst themselves.

the food surpassed my expectations; I live in Las Vegas and have access to many restaurants of different price ranges and ethnicities. The specialty restaurants (for which one must book a dinner reservation in the morning) were all fine. The service was excellent.

Tipping...what is wrong with these guests. Can't they leave a tip for a waiter or someone providing a service. The staff , contrary to spme comments, do not wait around for tips, not do they act like they expect one. They have a good idea how much they will earn at the end of the week, just as staff at a Las Vegas restaurant does. Just because it is "all-inclusive" does not mean that you can't put aside money for tips. Just my opinion.

I suggest that you book the airport transportation when you book the hotel. It is reasonable. I think it was $45.00 for the two of us, both ways. It appears to me that the tour company that does the airport run want a chance to sell a tour to the guests. That is a smart way to get the guest to their desk in the morning, instead of the many competitors.

In fact we booked a zipline tour that was great fun. Gabriel from VIP Tours was very amiable and pleasant to work with; so were the people at the zip line as well as the guide on the open small bus that took us through very scenic countryside.

The staff also worked hard to entertain the guests, but coming from Las Vegas these shows were delightfully amateurish. The staff had a great time doing the shows and drew the audience into their enthusiasm.

I would highly recommend this hotel and VIP Tours.

  • Stayed May 2013, 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 Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#37 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family 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*
Number of rooms: 612
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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