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“Not Reccomended” 2 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
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Not Reccomended”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

We had a horrific start to our vacation here. We were visiting for my cousin's wedding, and booked directly thru the hotel in January 2013. While booking, the hotel offered an airport transfer option which seemed reasonable and we took it. Fast forward to June, and we arrive at the airport. There are very agressive porters there who almost refuse to let you get to your bag without giving them a tip. There was no hotel kiosk at the airport, and no one had any record of our purchased transfer. We ended up paying for a taxi ($40 us) to take us the 25 minutes to the hotel. Arriving at the hotel, the front desk had no record of our reservation. Actually they had no computer, just a printed list of check ins. Luckily the lobby had wi-fi and I was able to bring up our email reciept from the Riu website, with our confirmation number. The front desk asked us to email that to them - very odd! We were then told our reservation was cancelled in April (we did not cancel) and were told we were rebooked at the hotel next door. Mind you, we were there as part of the wedding party and all events were at this first hotel. At the same time we noticed 3 other couples getting told the same story. Clearly the hotel kept selling the rooms at a higher price and cancelled the reservations of the parties with cheaper rates. At this point we were a bit irate and demanded to see the manager. The manager was also unfriendly and basically pointed us to the door. We arrived at the hotel next door and they again had no information on our reservation, and were again asked to email our reservation back to them. They then told us we were being put in a standard room at the same price we reserved for next door (they seemed like they wanted thanks for this feat) We reserved a suite next door. I informed them that this was in no way acceptable, and get someone on the phone who can make this right. After 2 hours of calls and 5 transfers between managers I spoke to a very nice lady, Larissa, who was american and was instantly appled by the situation. She immediatley spoke to the front desk and told them to upgrade us and give us acces to the original hotel so we could eat and spend time with the wedding party. The front desk clerk was visibly mad at having to do this. The room we ended up getting was in fact very nice, but the promised access to the other hotel was never delivered. We ended up having to sneak around there and have members of the wedding party get us drinks. It is a very odd system they have there, as it is 5 all inclusive hotels, but you can not wander from one to the other and be served drinks - even though the quality of the drinks is the same at all. For high points of the hotel: The jacuzzi suite was very nice. The buffet was average, and the specialty restaraunts were better than expected - and also there was no additional charge to go to them. There were also free sailboats, and the beach was quite nice. The overall value was good. Our check in ordeal alone dragged down what would have been a 5 star review. I have no idea how this hotel stays in business with local management as uncaring about the basic thing they are in the business of doing.

Room Tip: Go for the jacuzzi suite, on a higher floor
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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2,871 reviews from our community

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  • 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
Perth, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013 via mobile

We booked 7 nights in this resort, after reading all the previous reviews we weren't expecting any luxury, just wanted to relax and enjoy our first trip to the Caribbean.
First impression was wow! Reception has a beautiful deco that makes you feel that you're in a palace. While checking in we were offered a non alcoholic drink by a waitress, that made us feel welcomed.

Our room was on the second floor facing other resort, not a big deal, we weren't going to spend time in the balcony. It's true about the musty smell in the rooms, but it's nothing that would kill you. Rooms are big, we are not into spirits but you can tell that the bottles of the mini bar are refilled. The only beer available is the local one (presidente), but the shops in the resort have corona and Heineken for sale.

Make sure you put the sign "do not disturb" on the door unless you want a housekeeper knocking on your door at 9am!

After 6pm another housekeeper will knock asking if you need extra towels ( during our stay we had 6 big towels and we were only 2!) which is good.

Spanish is the official language in Dominican Republic, so don't expect to have 90% of tv channels in English. Some reviewers just like to complain about those small things.

Buffet food was good, it has a big selection, if you don't like anything from there then you're a fussy eater or should book your holidays in a super luxurious resort.

We tried a few restaurants, skip the Brazilian one, waste of time. The Steakhouse was our favourite, meat was cooked to perfection and the seafood starter was delicious.

The beach is beautiful, clean and water was warm. We never had any problem finding a spot, same around the swimming pool.

Entertainment was good, aerobics at the swimming pool was fun.

Our flight was at 7pm so we checked out before 12pm but we were allowed to out our bags in the luggage room and we enjoyed the afternoon in the swimming pool after having lunch.

In case you get a slightly diarrea, you can get Imodium in one of the shops in the resort.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Nashville, Tennessee
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

Reading through the reviews and I was surprised by so many complaints. We were there for 5 days and had a great time. It was what I expected.

Food- We didnt go to the restaurants because we didnt want to bother with reservations. We ate at the buffet and were totally fine with the selection and quality of the food. Honestly I think the only way you could be so offended by the food is if you are exceptionally picky. If you are a "foodie" and expect every meal personally prepared JUST for you, or you are an adult with the palate of a 10 yr old Otherwise I cant imagine not finding something you could eat given the huge selection.

Room- Very well decorated and clean, fully stocked bar, with soft drinks and water. The bed was a bit hard, but no real complaints. TV with channels in English and the free wifi were welcomed comforts.

Beach- Very nice & clean, plenty of chairs GREAT weather 85 degrees with a breeze, very comfortable for laying on the beach and reading, or getting in the water. There were a few beach vendors but they weren't pushy or disturbing at all. The "drinky drinky" guys kept us well fueled on rum. It's very European, so Americans you may see someone in a speedo or a woman sunbathing topless, so check your Puritanism at the door.

Pool- We didnt spend much time in the pool area (I can swim in a pool at home.) Towards the end of the week it became very "Spring Break-y" when a large number of American HSers showed up. They virtually lived at the swim up bar and were loud. The pool does close at 7PM so the rowdiness didnt go into the night.

Excursions- We only did one. It was a bit hap hazard, but that seems to be the Dominican way. It allowed us to see the real DR, which is eye opening- the poverty is shocking. We did get to see coffee plants, cigars being made, coco production and the landscape. I'd give it a B to B-.

Both of us did experience some travelers diarrhea. Despite our best efforts to avoid the water, we both came down with this, and it seemed to be common amongst others we talked to as well, so bring Imodium etc..

BE SURE TO PACK SUNSCREEN!! We did, but heard others say a bottle was selling for $30.

Staff at the resort were fantastic, very friendly and while not all were 100% conversant in English, we had no issues. (The airport is another story.)

Overall a very nice vacation, I wouldnt hesitate to recommend this to friends.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

I booked a trip to punta cana with delta vacations at the riu palace from 5/19/13 to 5/25/13 this was supposed to be a special trip 11 of us went three friends graduated grad school so they really wanted to celebrate where do i start this vacation was terrible from the start when we arrived at THE RIU PALACE the rooms weren't ready and im used to the riu palace smelling a little weird because ive stayed at the palace in Cancun as well as Jamaica but this smell was terrible it smelled like dirty old wet mop we didn't have clean towels for two days they never changed the sheets i even put makeup on the sheets and they still didn't change them don't even get me started on the bed bugs ....... we had a plate of old chicken bones in the fridge so ants wont get to it and when they came to stock the fridge they didn't even move the plate they left it there for two days the bartenders kept making the wrong drinks know one there could speak English they served the same food everyday for breakfast,lunch and dinner and the food was GROSS they kept making watery eggs the breakfast was so bad that i stood behind the stove moved the chef out of the way and started making omelets for me and my friends as well as other guest oh and did i mention we all got food poisoning after the fourth night our meals consisted of french fries and nacho cheese that's all the 11 of us eat for the remainder of the vacation after we were sick the hotel charged us for coconuts which i didn't understand in Jamaica they gave them to us for free then when we went to the casino they charged us for jose cuervo and were rude as hell we tried to order room service and they kept hanging up on us it took all week to get a avocado and i had to beg for it the restaurants are terrible and three of my friends shared a room and got Eaten alive by BEDBUGS they would not change the room either the staff really didn't care ....,the delta agent thats suppose to have our transfers taking care of had it all screwed up they need to burn down the riu palace punta cana and start all over again all in all if i could get my money back from this trip i would i was embarrassed because it was my trip and these were my friends and we did not enjoy our selves we suffered..

Pearl Casher

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Dayton, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

We stayed from April 20th - 27th. We're giving an excellent rating because the Riu delivered everything we expected. Service was great, staff was friendly, food and drink was exactly what we thought it should be, resort was clean and well maintained.

When I look at some of the negative reviews for this property, particularly when someone says the staff was rude, I just can't believe that the people stayed at the same resort we did. Our housekeeper, Anna, gave us a hug on our last day! This was our ninth trip to an AI (fifth in PC) and that has never happened before.

The Riu Palace Punta Cana regularly ranks right in the middle of the pack among the PC resorts. Sure you can get better everything, but you'll pay for it as well. Considering the price we paid this was one of the best values we've ever had on a vacation. Our first trip to an AI was a Sandals in Jamaica (supposedly the highest rated AI chain.) We paid two and a half times as much as the RIU, and got half the service. We highly recommend the Riu Palace Punta Cana.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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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
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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