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“Wonderful mother/daughter trip” 4 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 100 Hotels in Punta Cana
Gatineau, Quebec
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Wonderful mother/daughter trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

Riu Palace Punta Cana - November 16-23, 2013

We were a group of 4 (2 mother daughter couples) - Left Ottawa via Sunwing on November 16th at 17:00 pm - arriving in Punta Cana at 10:30 pm - Arrived at the Riu Palace around midnight after stopping at all the other Riu hotels along the way to drop off other guests. We were greeted by Gino at the front desk and check-in was pretty quick. He gave us our 2 towel carts, room key and the lock and key for the safe.

We had requested communicating rooms which we did not get but our rooms were side by side which was perfect - We were on the first floor in rooms 1047 and 1048 which were closer to the pool area. Each room had 2 beds and nice living room area with balconies facing the interior courtyard. Our fridge was replenished every two days and we also had a liquor distributor in our room (rhum, vodka, gin). We had asked our cleaning lady for more water and each day we had an extra 3 big bottles of water. Our room was always cleaned before noon and each day we had different towel art/decorations.

Reservations for the a la carte restaurants can be made each morning (inside the Italian Restaurant) - Reservations are made for the first three nights, we then went back mid-week for the remaining reservations - there were no line-ups at all. We tried the Italian (we were divided, 2 loved, 2 did not like as much), French (good), Japanese (just OK) and Steakhouse (the surf and turf was very good, the rib-eye not so much).
One evening there was a BBQ diner at the Altagracia which was delicious and the other night we went to the buffet and we found the selection very good.
Each morning we had our breakfast at the buffet where the service is excellent!
For lunch we alternated between the Altagracia, the buffet and also the buffet located at the Riu Bambu next door.

The beach is very nice, although not very big. Everyone is crowded under the palm trees for shade. If you get to the beach later than 9:00am it was very hard to find chairs (or a spot in the shade). The waves were very big during our stay (red flag) therefore we did not swim at all in the ocean. We spent the week at the pool, the pool is pretty small with a nice pool bar area. We never had problems finding chairs and there are a lot of umbrellas for those preferring the shade. We never actually had to go to the pool bar as the service around the pool is excellent. There was always someone asking us if we wanted anything. Nestor at the pool bar is fantastic.

The animation team is really good. The games would start around 10:00 am at the beach (darts, dancing lessons, bocce, etc.) and around the pool at 2:00 pm (crazy games, music, etc.). If you prefer not to join in the games and just relax this is fine they are not pushy.
After dinner, the animation team can be found in the Plaza where live music is played each night followed by the nightly shows which were not that great. There was one night where the animation team were selling CDs and we thought there were really pushy (we had bought one but the seem to insist all four of us buy one and kept coming back and insisting).

Overall we had a wonderful stay and this hotel was perfect for my mother who has a hard time walking as everything is close. One of the issues we found was that there was no elevator giving easy access to the lobby. It would be nice if an elevator was available from the Plaza, where all the restaurants are located to get to the lobby as there are a lot of stairs. The other issue we had was that the floor in the Altagracia restaurant was very very slippery (especially at lunch time with the sand and water on the floor). My aunt actually slipped and fell one night, she was very lucky and did not get hurt. The service all around was excellent, we were always greeted with a smile.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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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2,932 reviews from our community

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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 (573)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Wells, Maine
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2013

When we arrived they put us in a room on the bottom floor. I had been in contact with them via e-mail and were to be in a upper room. The room smelt like mold. The mini fridge was not stocked . They said the guy would be by in 5 minutes to fill it with water, soda, beer. He never came!! The tub was so dirty I had to put a towel down in the bottom so I could shower. The toilet had dry blood suck to the seat. GROSS!!!! They moved us to a 3rd floor the next day. The room was clean but still smelled of mold. I did bring spray with me. I used it every day. The couch had mold growing on it. I was not able to sit on the couch at all the entire time. I brought In a chair from the patio to sit on. The food was ok. Some of the restaurants were better then others. The pool & beach were great!! The staff could of been a little more friendly. Punta Cana in general was nice. I would NOT recommend this resort. We spoke with 4 other groups that were staying here and all of them had issues with their rooms. I would not go back!! Besides the resort we had a good time :) MAINE USA

Room Tip: Ask for and upper floor near the beach end of the building. TIP everyone and you will get great serv...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Wonder Lake, IL
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2013

We travel to Caribbeans twice a year for some time and usually do not stay twice in the same resort. Here in Punta Cana we stayed In three different resorts: Paradiso Drand Bavaro, Iberostar Grand and Riu Palace. We like to try places to find new experiences and have some idea what is really the difference between the places besides the Dollar amount.
We would place Riu Place somewhere in the top of the list not only here in Punta but other places too. The resort is very well up-kept with small exceptions of leaky sealing in spots and the fact that during strong tropical rain water may flow through your room. I gave the resort 5 star anyways because of the service we found and the people on stuff. They took care of us like a family members in any situation we asked for help. Including free room upgrade not because of problems but because we have asked for a better view. We ended up on east wing second floor room with garden/ocean view right above theater. Close to restaurants and lobby, or any night entertainment. We liked the room, clean and smelled no mold. Nice bathroom and day time sofa, TV, in-room mini bar with all inclusive alcohol, fridge with sodas regularly replenished daily. Restaurants just like in all Palaces in other places. We knew exactly where they at, and what they would serve. Food was good as always in Rius. We've had no problems with any of it. Beach entertainment all they long hosted by boys and girls with a lots of humor and laughter. We played some games and won some trophies. It was a lots of fun and time went quickly. The only thing I have noticed that I was not enjoying completely was (no offense to anyone) kids. We are in 50s and like the grand kids but after being in four different places like this one we opt out ADULTS only for every other vacation we will go to and so far we like it better. Don't take this wrong way, but for some reason pools and restaurants are much calmer and believe it or not much cleaner.
In overall We rate this resort high and if you need to travel with children it is the place to go, in a week we are going to Riu Macao, just next to Palace, ADULTS ONLY. Will see.

Room Tip: Economy Dollars - Garden view We do not recommend back views - not very pretty.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
18 reviews 18 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2013

We were a group of guys in our late 20's to early 30s, who was in Dominican from Nov. 8th to 15th. Let me make this review simple and fast for two groups of people: If your group of people who are single and want to party, this is not the resort for you better you stick to a 3 or 4 stars. If your a family with kids, there are better resorts cratered towards families, esp kids.

That being said, the Riu Palace Punta Cana is Beautiful and massive. If you're on your Honeymoon and don't really want to mingle with other travelers, this is the resort for you. Also, if your retired this is the perfect place for you. The reason I say this is because the place is massive. There is plenty of space for you relax and abundance of pool chairs or beach chairs. You never feel like it's crowded when when all the 619 rooms are sold out. Peaceful and quiet.

The reason I gave it a 4 stars, is that I was a little disappointed. This is my 2 second time to the Dominican. Last time I stayed in Puerto Plata in the Riu Bambu for my honeymoon. Also, I have always chosen Riu Resorts when I traveled, as this would have probably been my 10th Riu. This is also my first time staying at a Riu Palace. For paying a premium for the palace I thought I would get better service then the other Riu resorts I have been to, but it was pretty much the same service. You do get better selection of liquors at the bar.

For those who don't travel allot, this place is great. You won't be disappointed. Buffet has great number of selections to choice from, your bound to like something. But do keep my mind that the buffet selection do rarely change day to day. There are also 5 A La Carte restaurants.

Do keep in mind that your in a third world country and when it says it's a 5 star resort, its not the same 5 stars like in North America. Im always amazed at peoples stupidity in their reviews when they complain about the 5 stars. If you want a same 5 star treatment like in NA, then stay in NA.

Rooms are normal suits. yes, there is a little smell due to the humidity. They are clean and maids do a great job cleaning them, they will go the extra mile if you leave tips.

Room Tip: Take the rooms closer to the beach.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 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.
New Jersey
2 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2013

My friends and I were forced to stay here after booking initially with the Riu Palace Macao and being told there were no rooms available at that hotel upon arrival.

Cons: The beds are extremely hard and uncomfortable. We would wake up achy every day. The beach chairs are just as bad. They don't go all the way flat so good luck trying to lay on your stomach. There are no umbrellas on the beach so you basically have to hide under a palm tree if you want some shade. The hotel room doors slam loudly. There were a few mornings we were woken up by a number of slamming doors.

The food here is average. Breakfast is probably the best meal you will get. Avoid the specialty restaurants. My friends and I tried the Italian restaurant and each ordered a different menu item. They were all terrible. The buffet is probably your best bet for dinner. You will find something to eat. Drinks are watered down and the quality of the vodka is poor. The nightly entertainment is extremely tacky unless you find lip syncing to Cher entertaining.

Pros: The price and nice beachfront space. They offer a free shuttle bus in the evenings to the other Riu properties.

After having our reservation "disappear" from Macao and being forced to stay at the Palace with its average food and lodging, I will not be staying with Riu ever again. You are better off staying somewhere else.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2013

About 15 friends went on this trip together through Cheap Caribbean. The host from CC was so helpful and always available. The hotel was beautiful! Our room was always clean and cool. We went in October and the humidity was so high that it was miserable going outside unless you were at the ocean or pool. Entertainment was fun and staff was good. Food was pretty good for a resort. We went on a couple of excursions and a town trip. Town trip was horrible with the children begging for dollars and wouldn't leave us alone. But catamaran was fun and fishing. The only complaint I would have is that there wasn't much of a "night life". When the day cooled off, our group was ready to "party". But there wasn't anything or anywhere available on the premises. With a little improvement on this, this place would be perfect. Remember..don't drink the water or brush your teeth with the tap water (they provide huge fresh water bottles every day), but drinks and ice at the bars and restaurants are safe.

Room Tip: Our room was closer to the beach and facing the water fountains. A/C wonderful, rooms comfortable...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

I'm on the fence on whether I would stay at this location again. I had heard nothing but good things about Riu properties from relatives who've stayed in Jamaica & Aruba, so when they suggested this location, I was ok with the decision. However, reading the reviews made me terrified. No one wants to go on vacation & deal with illness or roaches crawling all over the rooms. But I decided to ignore the reviews & make the best of it & decide for myself.

The staff:
Everyone I came in contact with was very polite. From check in/out, cleaning staff, room service, pool bar, restaurants, etc. I have no complaints at all.

Because this wasn't my 1st time in DR, I was hoping to get if not the same, at least a similar experience that I had when I visited last year. While all of the food I ate was good, the selections were very minimal. One night we made reservations at the Yokohama Restaurant. All of the food that was served was basically the same food that I'd eaten on the buffet the night before, but it was still good nonetheless.

They all did a good job. Every day they offered something different & entertaining. One night they had a game show with audience participation. The Michael Jackson show on another night was AWESOME! The lady who was the instructor for pool aerobics was very nice & likeable.

One word...GORGEOUS!!!

This is where the problem for me lies. One you step into the hotel you are mesmerized by the beautiful decor, but as soon as you step into your room, it’s like you went from a palace to a motel 6. Rooms need major renovation. The bed spreads were not clean & very outdated. I stripped the bed before sleeping on it for fear they had bed bugs. You literally need a step ladder for the tub/bath combo. Not to mention there was hair in the tub when we 1st got there. Fortunately, we didn't have a roach problem like some of the other reviewers but our bathroom did have an ant problem. The room smelled of mildew. I don't know if it’s the products they're using when they mop the rooms or if I became immune to it because the smell went away on day 2.

With all that said, once the rooms are renovated & they get a better selection of food, I would probably go back.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
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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 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:
#35 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family 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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