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“Third visit in four years; I'd still come again on my own dime - but I'll bring friends.” 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
Hyannis, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Third visit in four years; I'd still come again on my own dime - but I'll bring friends.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2014 via mobile

Once again my award trip was here... even though we just returned from a cruise.

You can't beat the weather and the fine sandy beach, adequate palms for shade, and a large sandy shelf to ease you into the warm waters.

Bring singles to tip. Service quality is great regardless if you tip or not.

I'm on a diet, so I enjoyed the vast selection at the buffets, although our group did specialty dining each night. Both my wife and I feel the food quality is better than the larger cruise ships.

Over the four year period I've stayed here, the property maintenance has kept up; no degradation of food, service, accommodations or physical plant.

Multi cultural clientele - German, Belgian, American & Canadian, Iberian Peninsula, and South American.

Some say Punta Cana has become the new Cancun.

I won't argue with that!

Next time I bring friends!

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 (574)
Date | Rating
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English first
Minnesota
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2014

We stayed at the RIU Palace Punta Cana March 1-8. After reading many negative reviews, I was afraid that we had made a mistake. On the contrary, we had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of our vacation.

Check-in was fast and easy. We had a room on the first floor facing the plaza. It was very nice, very clean. Yes, the room did have a musty smell, but most places we have stayed in tropical areas have been the same. Some have complained about the keys, rather than key cards. We did not find that an issue. We did not mind the hardness of the bed, as others have complained. Since we have traveled widely in the Caribbean and Mexico, we generally expect that, The room was kept spotless by the maid and well stocked with towels and water. We did not use any of the bar items...why mix your own drink when a bartender will do that??

The hotel grounds are beautiful and well manicured. Everyday the grounds crew were out working. The walk to the beach was about 1 city block. We talked to people who stayed at other resorts and they had to take shuttles as their rooms were so far from the beach.

The beach at the RIU is beautiful and there were always plenty of beach chairs, in the sun or shade. I generally got to the beach by 10 each morning and never had a problem getting chairs. There are waiters roaming the beach all day delivering drinks. Note that all drinks have no alcohol, but waiters usually have a glass of rum to add to a drink. We had to laugh at one woman who was complaining that the beach drinks were too strong. She was rather embarrassed to find out there was no alcohol in her drinks!

We spent no time at the pool, but it was filled daily. From the time the swim up bar opened until it closed, there were people there. They appeared to be having a great time. There were very few children at the resort. Most of the visitors seemed to be 35 and older. When we walked through the pool area, there were always chairs available.

We are dinner at all of the restaurants. We had breakfast in the main buffet 2-3 days. The variety of foods served was incredible. We had lunch at the beach buffet several days. Like the breakfast buffet, there was a huge selection of hot and cold foods to choose from. We only had dinner at the buffet one evening. The remainder of the evenings we made reservations at one of the specialty restaurants. Getting reservations was easy. I waited at most 10 minutes. They allowed me to make reservations for 3 nights. Of the specialty restaurants, our favorite was Krystal. We ate there twice! Our ranking of the others from favorite to least favorite were: Yokahama, Bodega, Italiano Luigi, and the Steakhouse. None of them were terrible.

We spent most evenings after dinner out on the plaza people watching. We did go to a couple of shows---pretty much like other all-inclusives, A couple of evenings it rained so we went to the lobby bar.

We also walked around the RIU complex and checked out the other hotels. Interestingly, we were able to get drinks at all of the hotels, though we weren't supposed to. I guess we appeared like we fit in and the wait staff served us. Tipping probably helped too.

Like many of the visitors to the RIU, we tipped our maid and all of the wait staff. We always got great service. The staff was generally very attentive. The staff work and incredible number of hours daily and, at least outwardly, make you feel wanted and at home. I used around 100 $1 bill USD for tips on this vacation.

This was our 7th trip to the Dominican and the 5th to the RIU (Palace, Tiano and Bambu were previous stays). The Dominican Republic has changed since we first visited. When we first went there were very few North Americans visiting. I used to sit at the beach all day and rarely hear a word of English spoken. Now there are lots of Americans and Canadians.

We walked to the beach market 2 days. It is always an adventure in my bartering skills. This trip I feel that I won! We bought a couple of paintings and other trinkets.

Would we return? In a heartbeat!!!

Room Tip: We were in room 0102. Loved it!
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  • Stayed March 2014, 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2014

Went here last year - did it again this year. Been a Riu customer many times in different places. Riu is very service oriented and well appointed. Staff is always wonderful. Food in general is quite good - especially for an all-inclusive. This hotel was built in 2004. The hotel is always clean, friendly, and service is amazing. Would we go again? Yes, but might try yet another Riu in Punta just to mix it up a bit. The great Riu property that spans 6 of their hotels offers the prettiest beach in the area!

Room Tip: We loved the upgrade to a junior suite -- has king beds and promenade views of property!
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  • Stayed March 2014, 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.
Atlanta
1 review
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2014 via mobile

This evening my 18 year old twin daughters were mugged at the beach area of Riu Palace Punta Cana by an employee wearing the hotel employee uniform and hotel name tag. They were taking pictures and the employee came up and said he would take a picture of the two of them together. When it came time to return the phone he lunged at them and put his hand in his pocket as if he had a weapon and told them to stay as he took off. The hotel managers Melkis Diaz and Niels Alossery did nothing and threatened to kick us out of the hotel if we tried to report it to the police or tell other guests (we don't speak Spanish and couldn't speak to the police ourselves). We will contact our travel agency (AAA Travel) but want to warn people away from this terrible hotel.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2014

I've never reviewed a vacation before but thought I would give it a try (bit of a unique perspective) First of all I travelled with my boyfriend who is a T4 paraplegic and uses a compact manual wheelchair so we obviously had some certain criteria on our list. The RIU Palace was wonderful for accessibility! 6 Elevators and well ramped throughout (although quite steep near the lobby). Our room was clean and comfortable and all accessible (not the butler bar but thats why he brought me right!) We are not fussy but if you are traveling with any mobility problems do not be afraid to ask for a room closer to the pool as we were one of the very back rooms (didn't mind the exercise). The resort is very nice how everything is laid out, one main pool and lovely patio/show/buffet gathering area.

We splurged on the trip as a treat but we did find the resort quiet (we are 25/23) but enjoyed the live music/shows at night (music ending at 11pm). The shows are typical of what you get in the Caribbean, acrobatic show was very impressive. The RIU complex had a disco/casino a shuttle away we did not check out out (accessibility problem) but this may have been more lively.

Pros:
Perfect beach- miles of white sand, crystal clear water and tall palms. We had no problem finding a beach lounger provided you were not out after 12pm
Food- For the Caribbean it was lovely (comparing to Cuba/Mexico). We booked a la carts 5/7 nights and all were great (didnt try italian)
Drinks- top notch/ drinky drinky coming around to you on the beach was a perk for my boyfriend.
Service- No real complains/ usually friendly (with a tip$)
Hotel: the hotel itself is very beautiful and the grounds were very well kept. It does look like the palace! (apart from the rooms. Nice but basic).


Cons:
This is not a "5 Star" resort (we were not looking for one). Although we had a wonderful time and no real complaints we probably would not splurge on a RIU in the Dominican again. We have been very happy and chains like Iberostar/ Grand Palladum and this resort felt the exact same. If you are looking for a true "North American/European 5 Star" try Sandals or Club Med.

Shopping: I usually enjoy seeing local crafts/ things made when visiting Cuba/Mexico. The RIU complex did have "Caribbean Street" but I was very disappointed with it. It was a lot of the same stuff and overpriced (even with bartering). If you're looking for Rum/ a Painting wait until the airport if you don't go into town. Not a huge complaint more small disappointment.

Room Service/Housekeeping: Although friendly and good at their jobs they were in our room a lot. I mean like 4/5 times a day, sometimes with the "Do not disturb" sign on. We were near their supply station and I enjoy clean towels as much as the next person but they were in and out of our room a little more than we were comfortable with. If you do not need anything, leave the sign on the door.

Room Tip: Pick a pool view if you can, worth the people watching!
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Sao Paulo, SP
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2014

I've been ther for 12 days with my sister, and we loved! Hotel with great food, clean, with nice people. I strongly recomend to go there. We can go to casino and a dance club (Pacha), so fun to go. The bedrooms are big, with 2 queensize beds, and very clean, with a reasonable quantity of beverages, beers, vodkas, etc.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Jackson, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2014

While our over all vacation at this resort from March 3-10th was great, they need to update their facilities. The rooms and furniture just seemed old and lacking in color and style, but this is still a really nice resort. There are other Riu Palaces that are nicer/newer; and the food in Mexico is much better than in the Dominican Republic, so it's not fair to say that the food at this resort isn't very good. We have found from resort to resort in the food is basically the same all over DR. With that said, some items are better than others but you can always find something to eat.

The grounds were immaculate and well maintained the wait staff, bartenders, and cleaning personnel are all so polite and helpful. They work so hard and yet smile and joke with you all the time.

The pool is nice and the swim up bar spacious, however there are a lot of tiles missing and some sharp edges present on both the floor of the pool and the benches. Two objections we had are that there were at times children maybe 6-12 fooling/splashing around by the swim bar where adults were talking and drinking and March 8th a large group (50 or so) college student arrived and they were out of control and so rowdy--again by the swim bar. Thankfully we only had one full day with the students because twice someone vomited in the pool which really wrecked our last day. I was surprised and so disappointed that the Palace allowed "spring breakers" like this at the resort.

The beach and ocean are the best part of Punta Cana hands down. Warm water, white sand what more could you ask for?

We did take one trip with the Outback excursion which is worthwhile to really get to know about DR, it's people, and trade industry that they have. A couple tips, dress comfortable and bring something for the school children ie: coloring books, crayons, school supplies, and kites. Our guide Ruddy and driver Wilson were wonderful--ask for them. Lunch on this trip was quite good and plentiful, beverages were abundant. Macao beach is breath taking and a great end to the day.

Only for the beach we will come back to DR, but not the Palace Punta Cana--maybe the Bavaro or another resort.

We met some great people, made some new friends and had a wonderful vacation.

Room Tip: 2112 Is on the 3rd floor and half way between pool and restaurants.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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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:
#35 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
#45 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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