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“Why You Go to Punta Cana” 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 #52 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Loudon, New Hampshire
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Why You Go to Punta Cana”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2014

We stayed at the Hotel Riu Palace in Punta Cana. But before I get to that I want to say if you haven't used Apple Vacations you should. We had a direct flight out of Boston on a chartered Jet Blue plane and direct Jet Blue flying back. The flight was 3 hours and 40 minutes and they had Apple vans to take us to the hotel and back when it was time to leave so you don't have to deal with taxis. They were also very helpful during our time at the hotel.

Upon entering the lobby you see that the hotel is very classy and the grounds were beautiful. One note though. The room they gave us had a view of a children's playground which isn't what we were hoping for so we went back to check-in and handed the key back to the person behind the desk along with a $50 bill and magically we got a beautiful room on the promenade and an ocean view.While they only had one pool it was very large and it never felt crowded. The pool area is only a minute to the best beach in the world. It is a soft sand beach that goes for over 20 miles so you can get all the walking you want. You also can leave the property and go to other Riu's that are next door and get drinks and meals there as well. At the Riu Palace the staff are outstanding and very hard working. They make the trip that much better with their great attitudes and friendly conversations. The breakfasts and lunches are very good and there is something for everyone with lots of options. In the mornings the staff would get us Cappuccinos which was a best way to start the day. The suppers were good but not great. I find that steaks in the Caribbean are not what you are used to if you live in North America or Europe and aren't worth getting. If I had a complaint it would be that the beer is lousy. If you like Bud Light type of beer then you may like it, but if you are a microbrew beer person then you will have to switch to mixed drinks. If find that is the case throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. We did enjoy the entertainment. Was it a little hokey? Yes but you are there to have fun so enjoy the time because before you know it you will be back at home. Overall I would go back to this Hotel without hesitation. We travel a few times a year outside the U.S. and have gone to several All Inclusives. What makes this place stand out is the service, the property, and the best beach in the world, in a very safe place.

Room Tip: If you want a great ground floor room ask for room 0051. If you get a disappointing room break out...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
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London
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
170 helpful votes 170 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2014

We stayed here the last week of February 2014. This was our winter trip and a Christmas present to our 19 year old daughter who shared the room with us. We wanted her to have a wonderful break from college. She was not disappointed.

Our original choice was the Riu Palace Macao but I left it one day too late to book and it was no longer available. I am glad that happened because in our opinion the Riu Palace Punta Cana is much nicer. Macao is adults only but at the RPPC there weren't that many kids anyway, very, very few so not an issue. It is more upscale and you find more kids at the Riu Bambu which is a little lower in scale.

Our check in was very quick. Of all the people on our flight very few were going with us. The bus was only half full and were evenly distributed among the other Riu properties. We got our room keys, paid a $5 deposit for an extra key and were on our way.

We had a superior room which looked into the centre of the resort (next time we wouldn't bother paying the extra). Room was fabulous but only 1 king bed and a pullout couch which would have been noisy and very uncomfortable. We called down to the front desk for another room with two beds and within 2 mintues they called back. They gave us the key for another and we moved into it. It was on the top floor. By the way there are 4 floors in the place. The bottom floor is 0 and the top floor is 3. Floor 1 is where the lobby is. Next room was just as nice and very Riu. My first stop was to pour myself a rum. Mmmmm. Daughter was excited about having something from the fridge which is all included.

This property is immaculate. Very well appointed and very elegant. We checked out the others and this was our favorite and we think no just because we stayed there. Lots of marble and beautiful Regency style furniture in the lobby. The main bar has lots of wood with peanuts for snacking on and is a nice place to hang out.

The pool is great and warm. Very clean and a joy to sit around. Fun games through the day and the beach restaurant is just steps away and has lots of variety. It doubles as the steak house in the evening.

The beach is incredible. Very deep and lots of trees. Never a problem getting a chair there and you are not on top of somebody else like you are at the Bahia Principe next door. Their beach is not as deep and chairs are one atop the other. There is no chance really to snorkel at the beach here so if you looking for that you have to take a trip.

The food was great. We have stayed at a Riu before, in Puerto Plata, and it did not disappoint. Lots of choice and everything was wonderful. Great service as well and you can get a person who recognizes you and will look for you each day. We had a person for buffet dinners, breakfast and lunch and had our table ready for us each day. Nice to tip for good service and we got that here.

Would we stay here again? In a heartbeat. It costs more as it is a palace but it was extremely worth it. I was very impressed with the fact that premium drinks like JD, Canadian Club whisky and others are present and available. Once I had my fill of Pina Colodas and the like I settled down to my whisky on ice every evening. Mornings were for Mamauana (local drink) and vodka and lemonade. The mixed drinks were great but can fill you up. They have lots to choose from.

Riu again someday and someday we will return to this awesome property.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2014

I stayed here for one week in June. I have to say this place is Paradise! I don't understand how anyone can write a bad review about this place. The place is huge and staff are super friendly. The food was great, there was lots of options and room service was awesome. Our room was clean and the temperature was good. We stayed on the 3rd floor, it was quite a walk to the pools and beach- we didn't mind tho. If you don't want to walk I would suggest requesting a room on the 1st floor. There were many little stores right on the resort. The beach had good shade and the water was clean. We went on the snorkelling trip and I would highly recommend it. Overall I would go to the resort again. This place was amazing!

  • Stayed June 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
    • 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.
Burlington, Vermont
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2014

This was our second time vacationing at the RIU Palace in Punta Cana. We liked it so much the first time that we decided to go back again. The staff is very pleasant, always smiling and willing to help at any time. There is a little language barrier since they speak primarily Spanish. With a little patience, you can figure it all out. The room was clean with no odors as mentioned by others in previous reviews. I always bring a plug in air freshener just in case. We were surprised to find free Wi-Fi throughout the resort. (even poolside) The first time we were here, Wi-Fi was limited to the lobby. You are allowed 90 minutes of use per day. The swim-up bar is a lot of fun. The lobby bar is nice bar for the evening with no smoking and there is a 24 hour sports bar as well for the night owls, which allows smoking in it. The beach is extremely clean. The buffet has a wide variety of foods bound to satisfy anyone. We went to Steakhouse and Italian restaurants which were good. We walked to the other RIU resorts in the area and felt this one was the best for the money. RIU Macao was just renovated and is an adults only resort. It looked very nice as well, but costs much more to stay at. We will more than likely stay at the RIU Palace again in the future. The resort is starting to show some signs of wear since it is 8 years old, but it is still in good shape considering the use it gets. Don't be afraid of all of the negative reviews. There are many more positives than negatives. You can't always please everyone. Considering the cold winter we've had this year in the Northeast of the USA, this trip was very deserved and relaxing. Enjoy!

Room Tip: Top floor looking over the courtyard. Backside tends to be a bit noisy from the other resorts.
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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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hyannis, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

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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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