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.
- 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