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“Don't go!! Not 5 star!! Not even close!” 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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Special Offer
Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #52 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Don't go!! Not 5 star!! Not even close!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013 via mobile

Beautiful beach, bad hotel. Bad food everywhere in the resort. My kids and husband got sick. Horrible, horrible resort. Room service is a joke. 2 options: a pathetic sandwich or stale nacho chips with processed cheese sauce (and I'm not exaggerating). Those were the only room service options! Why is this rated 5 star? Why? Huge waste of time and money, and now I have sick children. I'm so mad and feel completely duped!! I'm disgusted.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (534)
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English first
Grimsby, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

Booked through Thomson to arrive at the Riu Palace Punta Cana on the 12th June through to the 26th. I can truthfully say that me and my partner had a amazing time here at this beautiful resort. On Arrival we were blown away by the front of the hotel, it looked just exactly like a palace and the lobby was beautiful also. We were a little sceptical about the reception staff due to previous comments but they couldn't of been more helpful and polite on arrival. They gave us a speedy check in, WIFI passwords, a welcome drink and even though we aren't smokers, two free cigars! Our rooms was just the standard double and it did the job fine. Yes there was a musty smell when we arrived but after the first day it had gone! Open the doors and stop moaning, your in the Caribbean! The minibar was restocked daily and the optics every two days. The maids did a fabulous job of cleaning our rooms and leaving lovely towel art for us to find everyday. The food was really good, breakfast awesome! Lunch and dinner was always fine for us.. for the people who say the food is awful and they couldn't find anything, you must be very very very fussy! There was a massive variety of different foods to choose from and all nice quality. We booked 3 of 5 speciality restaurants, the Italian, steakhouse and the Krystal. Would only recommend the Krystal and Italian. The Steakhouse, I have to be honest, not good! We ate at the buffet most nights and Mario looked after us every night, he was so lovely and had a table ready for us every morning, lunch and dinner, absolutely loved him!

Room service I wouldn't recommend anyone bother with, there's about 3 things on the menu and they don't rush when bringing it either. The beach was amazzzing, white sands and turquoise seas. Spend at least a week on there and loved every minute, the pool guys are really attentive when bringing you drinks either on the beach or round the pool! We did a couples massage on the beach, that was $60's each, well worth it, would recommend. The entertainment was okay, the guys are really cool and it was hilarious watching them all dancing round the pool, really funny.

The hotel offers a free shuttle to the Palma Real Shopping Center at different times everyday. There is lots of shops and places to eat like the Hard Rock Café (Went there twice, Brilliant). Make sure you ask reception as our rep was crap and didn't tell us and we found out of the couple we met out there. Also take crème for mosquito bites, we got bitten rotten, mostly in the evenings.

For the people who say this place is full of roaches, I didn't see one or even a bug for the whole 2 weeks only mosquitos but only at night. Maybe we were at a different part of the hotel? No idea?

I would give the hotel grounds, architecture and staff 5* most definitely. The reason why my overall score was 4* is because of the following.. The pool and the infinity pool were really mucky, twice we had to pull chunks of peoples hair out and put them on the side, gross. Lots of tiles had fallen off around the pool and it looked really tired. The Premium Alcohol they boast when you book doesn't come out unless you ask, and ask and ask again for it. My partner is a big big Jack Daniels drinker and numerous times after asking for a 'jack and coke' they brought it, it was not jack. Luckily we met a couple who go every year to the Palace Punta Cana and they know all the staff so once we were with them (which was most of the time for the last week) we got premium alcohol. This isn't good, why promote your business as offering premium brands if you don't want to give it? Very deceiving.

One thing I will say is this place is full of Americans who are gobby and love to complain and complain and complain some more. After a week we were sick of them screaming to each other instead of just talking although they were only sat 2 foot away from each other. no need. We found a spot with 4 other British couples, who felt just the same. Guess that's just Americans for ya, just wish they took into account that other people are on holiday as well, not just them!

Overall

Would I recommend this hotel to anyone else? Yes
Would I return to this hotel in the future? Yes I would.

We loved our stay and although a few minor let downs, it wouldn't stop me from returning. Loved every minute, Your holiday is what you make of it, if you go thinking everything is going to go wrong, it will! Enjoy your holiday and relax!

Room Tip: Request a room facing the courtyard Request a room on a high floor.
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  • Stayed June 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
New Cumberland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

The Riu Palace Punta Cana is so beautiful! Upon arrival we were blown away at the appearence of the resort. I have family in Santo Domingo, DR so I have visited the island before. The Riu resorts in Punta Cana are very safe, this is not true for some of the other resorts (some are right off of the main road and have security men with guns).The beach is very clean and the view is beautiful. The restaurants are great but you need to go down at 8am to reserve a restaurant. My favorite restaurants were Krystal and Yokohama... my husband loves the italian restaurant and the steakhouse. The drinks are very good and not watered down... they are usually a little too strong! Some of the reviews state the room was musty... our room was a little musty but it comes with the territory because it is always very humid there. I bought a travel size Febreze and sprayed the room... then it was fine! The rooms are smaller than pictures but very pretty and clean plus who goes there to stay in your room. Our bed was very comfortable not too firm! The staff is very friendly and will go out of their way to help! I would highly recommend this resort!
I would also recommend the Outback Safari... it was the best day of our trip. It is very informational and fun! Remember to take you swim suit!

Room Tip: All the rooms are beautiful!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Newport Beach, Ca
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

We stayted there the week of Jun 16 and went with a group of 13 adults. We had a fantastic time and I am glad that we selected that resort. Not all of us got nice rooms and some of us had to go back and request change of rooms. The best meal of the day was the breakfast at Don Manuel and the lobby bar with the piano was another nice touch. Our waitress Anni in the main restaurant, was super nice. Of the specialty restaurant, Kristal had a bad service and very salty fish. The stake house and the Italian had good food. The beach is amazing and plenty of beach chair. Aside from the long flight (we went from west coast), we will definitely go back.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Alexandria, Virginia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

Stayed here for four nights was a very pleasant experience. Upon arriving, I received a welcome cocktail, the reception desk was attentive and efficient for checking-in/out. I have to mention that I received the room keys three hours before the official check-in time. I got a room close to the pools and beach, no ocean view, no courtyard view, but it was perfect for someone who only is in the room to sleep and change, pool and beach are the places to be. Liquor bottles in the room for self-serving were pretty cool, I used the beers in the fridge and it was refilled every single day. The all-inclusive buffet was decent with plenty of food for self-service and different options for all tastes. This hotel has several specialty restaurants, but I was fine having my dinners in the buffet. Guests staying in Riu Palace are welcomed in the sister properties Riu Bambu and Riu Naiboa, so you have more options for eating, drinking and entertainment. I have to say that the pool area in Riu Bambu had an atmosphere appropriate for young adults while the ambiance in the Palace’s pools was quieter. This hotel seems to have a good location, it is close to the famous Pacha (disco), casino, golf courses, and shopping center. The entertainment staff runs the extra mile to keep the guests happy, my recognition to them. In general, the staff is always trying to make it the best vacation they can for you. Overall the experience was good, do not expect a top luxury hotel, but you can get a very good value for the money you pay. This resort could be enjoyable for every kind of trip you could have, I would definitely recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Courtyard view rooms provide a better view and too much noise
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

We had a few qualms after reading some of the reviews but were relieved to find next to none of the problems mentioned.

Ok we did have a whiff of damp when we first went in the room but we've had this before in other Caribbean resorts. Once you've been in the room a few minutes it's not noticeable.
Room was exactly like the website pics, very clean, huge bed, spacious and well equipped. The stocked minibar was most welcome after 12hrs of travelling.

Buffet meals were better than most of the other AI hotels we've stayed in, disappointed that there didnt seem to be much in the way of Dominican national dishes but I was delighted with the amount of fish on offer. Luigis the Italian restaurant was awful but the Steak one was great.

Staff there really wanted folk to have a great stay, couldnt do enough for you and were in the main very professional. Pedro at breakfast was huge fun and made every day start with lots of laughs. Loved the drinkie drinkie boys on the beach. Beach vendors didnt approach us unless called over and even then weren't pushy.

Service on the evening at the outside bar wasnt that speedy but having a pretty good choice of drinks made up for it. As said in other reviews not all of the drinks were the same brand as the label on the bottle but unless you're super fussy they were acceptable and the staff in most bars were quick to bring new drinks, even when you hadnt really wanted another.

Forget shopping for gifts as a lot of it was just tacky rubbish and make sure you take plenty of sunscreen. We got caught out when our spf30 didnt do the job and had to pay $35 for a tube of spf100.

We were part of a 24 group who've been on many holidays together including cruises and other Caribbean islands and this was agreed to be the best. Apart from a couple of teeny things (English breakfast tea was awful, bed was too firm for me) there really wasnt anything to moan about. All of us wished we could stay for longer and would visit again. I'm trying to convince my son to change his wedding venue to this hotel.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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.
Watertown, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

** TLDR at the bottom**
This was our long awaited HONEYMOON destination...We waited 4 years to go and it was VERY worth it! We stayed June 10-17 2013. We arrived at the airport and were instantly assaulted by porters who literally try to grab your bags from your hands. No bother for me, but I did see others who were intimidated and let go.DON'T! Hold on to your own bags!
We booked through FUNJET via AAA...I had no idea there was a funjet counter at the airport (wish my AAA agent had told me this), so instead of getting the airport transfer to the resort, we took a cab, to the tune of $40!!! my own ignorance, so I won't complain!
We finally arrived at the resort and WOW!!! The entry, lobby and common areas inside are amazing!!! We were greeted very pleasantly by hotel porters who brought our bags inside for us and led us to the front desk. We arrived at about 4pm so there was no wait to enter our room. The desk clerk handed us our envelope and extended the invitation to contact him if we needed anything!
We got to our room, number 2003. The porter showed us around, pointed out the bar and fridge, which is restocked daily with your beverage of choice. The room was beautiful but the bed was weird. Instead of the king we reserved, there were two doubles, outfitted separately and pushed together. So if you want to snuggle with your loved one, you have to undress the bed first... like I said, weird but not really much of a problem for me, I don't mind moving sheets.
The air conditioning worked perfectly, actually every evening we turned it off because it was too cold! Our room was situated on the lobby end of the resort, not the beach end...which I have seen other reviewers complain about but I did not mind the short walk through the pretty landscaping. Also, it afforded us a shorter walk to the buffet restaurant and to the lobby.
On our next to last day there, I finally figured out the shower's water pressure fix! Better late than never!
The beach was beautiful! As it was the start of their "off season", there was no battling over pool chairs or perfect beach spots! We went to the pool only once, I'd prefer a beautiful beach, powdery sand and waves crashing over the noise and bustle of a pool bar...
I was nervous about pushy vendors on the beach, as I've heard horror stories from friends visiting Mexico, Jamaica etc... There were NO pushy vendors...There are very quiet guys walking down the beach with stuff to buy. ANY of the touristy knick-knacks you can buy in ANY of the shops, can be bought from these guys! Cigars, knock off sunglasses, paintings, jewelry, dresses.. They've got it all. I got sunglasses on the beach for $9 that were $25 in the shops.
The hotel offers interactive entertainment on the beach, and an endless supply of dudes with drink trays...order what you like, with or without alcohol...They'll bring ya anything! (seriously anything, we were offered maryjane on our first day there...yes, we declined) The water was beautiful and so much fun at high tide! Be careful though, especially if you have kids. There are no lifeguards and the rip gets strong!
There are 4 or 5 specialty restaurants here, and you have to make reservations upon arrival. We couldn't get into the steakhouse until our 3rd day there. I didn't mind at all when an excursion made us our seating...The buffet was perfect for me! There was a good variety of food every day, for all meals! The servers are very attentive and nice! I heard from other guests that we met along the way that the french and italian restaurants were overrated and sometimes downright gross! I don't feel we missed out.
The excursions... We did the bavaro splash, Santo Domingo walking tour and the trip to Maria's home in the mountains. I enjoyed parts of each excursion. Be prepared for very high temps if you do the Santo Domingo! It reached 100*F on our day! We booked all of these through our travel agency rep who sets up in the hotel lobby. There is an excursion concierge provided by the hotel for those who booked without an agency. DO NOT GO ON THE SHOPPING TRIP TO THE CIGAR AND LARIMAL MUSEUM!!! What should have been a quick 15 minute visit to two tourist trap shops turned into a four hour ordeal in the unrelenting tropical heat. The hotel busses that were supposed to drop us off and pick us up kept getting more and more hotel guests while we "toured" the museums, therefore by the time we were done at the last shop, there were 20 people waiting for an 8 person van... like I said 4 wasted hours.
On our last full day, we went to the spa for the honeymoon package! DON'T DO IT!! it was a quick rub down salt scrub, chocolate wrap and jacuzzi bath for two in a tiny one person tub... the massage was a joke, the masseuses were pushy and rude. All in all, a $300 (yes $300) bore. But then we went back to the beach and got instantly happy again!! Lesson learned!

All in all, I truly loved this vacation! It is by NO means a 4 star resort but it is definitely more than I expected for the price!! I will definitely be returning here as soon as we can possibly manage!

TLDR:
Pros:
good value for the money (imo)
good buffet
beautiful beach
very relaxing atmosphere if that's what you want
good bars if that's what you want
very pleasant/friendly staff
replenished room beverages (we only drank water and one soda)

Cons:
beds (plan on feeling achy for a day)
water pressure
underwhelming excursions
small pool (only one)
terrifying traveling on the roads, pray if you believe, for everyone else, bring xanax!

Indifferent:
lack of room amenities (who wants to stay in their room??)
low quality booze...drink more if you wanna get drunk?
pretty much every other complaint others have made... relax people, its a low cost resort! Don't expect trump towers on red roof inn prices !!
In the future, I will find local tour guys for excursions or I'll just be lazy on the beach!!

Enjoy your vacations!

Room Tip: Rooms with Garden view won't be privy to the noise from the bar, patio and entertainment.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 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
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#22 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#42 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 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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