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“Our 6th time in the Dominican Republic” 5 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
Burlington
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Our 6th time in the Dominican Republic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Just visited this beautiful resort. Check in was quick and we were in our room within minutes of arrival. While some people found fault with the food we certainly did not. The quality and variety was excellent. There was a different carving station each night. We went to the Italian restaurant and the service was extremely slow. One restaurant required both long pants and long sleeved shirts for men. The staff at the hotel was very engaging and their service was excellent. We especially wanted to mention Wilson who was everywhere and greeted everyone with a smile. The beach was beautiful, covered in Palm trees of various sizes. We could always find chairs under the shade of these trees. The water was clear with a little seaweed left over from a recent storm. The sand was white and always groomed. Our only complaint was roving groups of young boys with instruments who would send the youngest boy, often about six years old, onto the property to dance suggestively and then beg for tips. Since all of the groups were similar I assume that there were adults at the other end taking the money. It was sad to watch this about four times a day. The hotel does not try to sell you time shares or vacation clubs which was a nice change from other resorts we have stayed at. We spent little time at the pool but those who did could also get chairs and umbrellas. Our room was pretty and always clean and well stocked with drinks and towels. There were always activities for those who wanted them

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (561)
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English first
Tucson, Arizona
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My daughter and I stayed at the Riu Punta Cana during the last week in June 2014. We were greeted graciously by very friendly staff. We had a problem with our room and to thank us for our patience, the staff sent a bottle of champagne to our room that evening. For those that are chemically sensitive, we were not able to tolerate the cleaning solutions they used in the rooms. We asked that our room not be cleaned for the week, but to have it serviced with clean towels, mini fridge, etc. They complied and followed what we needed. The pool was a bit dated, but clean and charming. We used the pool bar every day and the service was always with a smile. Other reviews said to bring your own containers for the beach drink servers. We never got liquor at the beach, but we never needed our own containers for the pool bar. Their drinks were heavy on the serving of liquor in them and were delicious. Miss that pool very much!
Wonderful stay, price was right, food was out of this world and the staff was pleasant, English speaking and friendly. Would definitely return.

Room Tip: We had a courtyard view room and it was a gorgeous view.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I visited this hotel with a group of ladies to celebrate a 30th birthday of a friend. Let me first say that I did not select the resort since I had heard so many negative things about it to start with, but in keeping with the budget for all attendees in the group we stayed here.

I visit Punta Cana very frequently, and this was my third time to DR in the past 6 months. Generally, I stay at the Excellence or Punta Cana Resort, but this time I stayed where the group consensus was.

The only good thing that I can say about the resort is that the staff seems to be friendly. Although sometimes the male staff members were "TOO FRIENDLY". For example, I was asked (almost harassed) by male staff members as to whether or not I would be going to the disco on the resort later that night because they wanted to dance with me. The flirting coming from some of the male staff members was so intense and downright uncomfortable at times.

The rooms were filthy, and no matter how long I laid out wet items they never dried because the room was too damp. The ventilation system did not work and there was a disgusting mold/mildew smell in everything in my bag when I got home simply because it was in the room.

The food was the most disgusting food I have ever eaten at a resort. I ended up trying to survive on fresh pineapple and plain white rice for the 4 days that I was there. We went to the Steakhouse and my lobster was complete mush. It had no texture to it and tasted like burnt chalk. I ordered a steak cooked medium and it came out with full on blood dripping off the plate. I almost threw up.

On the last day I was supposed to be advised when the shuttle was coming to take me to the airport and no one ever told me. I ended up having to take a taxi even though I had already paid for the airport shuttle. I felt as though the people were treated like cattle at this place.

I would never, ever, ever, ever (how many evers can I type here)...stay at this resort again for the rest of my life.

Room Tip: There are no good rooms here. Stay somewhere else
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Panama
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Many of you who has been there might think this is a great hotel, considering the huge open buffet they are offering and the big area the hotel is covering. I tell you what, it is bad. The food is bad, service is bad, actually nothing is good about this hotel. The rooms are smelly. We asked for a change twice. The buffet food is horrible.
Please do yourself a favor and do not plan a trip including this hotel.

Room Tip: The villas near the beach must be nice, but they are also expensive.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My husband and I stayed at the Riu Palace in February of 2013, so this review is very late but definitely needed. I'll begin by saying that I have been to numerous all-inclusive resorts in the caribbean and mexico, so I didn't begin my stay at Riu Palace with rose colored glasses on. I know what to expect when staying at an all-inclusive (buffet food, watered down drinks, etc). With that being said, let's start at the beginning.

We stayed at the Riu Palace for 7 days for a destination wedding, so we were there with a very large group of people. Check-in was a mess. There were no welcome drinks (this is the norm at any 3+ star resort). The front desk staff were not pleasant and demanded that we provide a print out of our reservation and confirmation information. Ummm...it was 2013 at that point. Who prints out paperwork? So, I gave them my phone with the email confirmation and they demanded that I email it to them. Well, this required me to log onto their wifi. Not the public wifi that is supposed to be available in the lobby, but wasn't; rather it was the front desk's private wifi that they had to give me the password to. So I emailed it, waited for them to pull it up, print it out, place it in an envelope, then we were finally handed the keys. Literal keys though, not swipe cards, but keys. Then we were reminded that you absolutely cannot loose these keys. Okay...great.

The room was large, but dank and dated. The bed was huge, but only had three pillows. The sitting area was a nice touch, as was the balcony. The bathroom also large, but needed a lot of work. The ceiling in the bathroom was literally falling apart throughout our entire stay. You could see the plaster on the floor throughout the day and it was evident that they were doing constant patch work throughout our stay. I always pack travel candles to light (I know, fire hazard), but what else can you use to rid the room of that terrible dank smell?

The candles actually ended up being a godsend, because the resort constantly lost power! Throughout the day and night the power surged and went out. I would wake up during the night and no lights, no television, just me, my husband and my candles (thankfully).

The grounds at the resort are absolutely gorgeous. There are people trimming the trees, picking up, cutting the grass, etc all day long.

The food, as I stated with any all-inclusive is the typical buffet food. Breakfast was decent with a good selection (omlette station, juice bar, etc). The only negative about breakfast were the servers who would only give you good service if they new you had a history of tipping well. The lunch buffet left a lot to be desired and needs some for safety improvements. The food at the outdoor buffet is left uncovered and not heated or cooled properly. The only food at the lunch buffet that I trusted was the cooked to order selections at the grill. As others have stated, there are bees everywhere.

Now, the dinner buffet and the dinner staff. The dinner buffet is served indoor at the same location as the breakfast buffet. If you don't have a reservation at an a la carte restaurant then his is your only option for real food (besides these sports bar, which you shouldn't even waste your time with). The manager at the buffet was the rudest, most unpleasant man I have ever experienced. There were times when we would be seated by the wait staff and he would come over and have us moved. He hovered over all of the tables, never saying hello or greeting anyone, just observing and scowling.

The drinks....well, don't let the tier three alcohol labels fool you. Those stolichnaya vodka bottles are NOT filled with stoli or any other type of vodka. They're filled with simple syrup. As I stated I was there for a wedding, which took place on day two of our stay. When we got to the reception I ordered another vodka tonic, and asked that it come from on of the full, unopened bottles. The bartender refused to open a bottle and poured it out of a full, but previously opened bottle. I had two other people try this drink to make sure I wasn't crazy, and sure enough it was watered down. I even got a vodka straight up and you could tell that it was mixed with simple syrup. This really bothered me for the entire trip. As I stated, you can expect some watered down drinks (as in a light pour), but the fact that their liquor bottles were actually filled with something other than liquor reeks of cost cutting.

In all, this was my second stay at a Riu resort, my first was a the Riu Santa Fe in Cabo (NEVER AGAIN), and I was hoping that upgrading to a Riu Palace would lead to a better experience. But, it didn't. There was no 24 hour room service (they say there is, but it doesn't exist), no open bars or pools after 7pm, the "disco tech" is a very long walk down a very dark and unsafe walkway/street, and the service was not up to par for a 4 star resort. The ONLY person on Riu's staff who made this trip pleasant and welcoming was Victor at the pool. He was a godsend. He was pleasant, personable, and did his job very well. He took the time to speak to us and put up with my broken spanish (most of the other staff seemed annoyed when/if you even tried to speak spanish). Victor needs to give the rest of the staff a lesson in hospitality.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

When I spend my hard earned money or when I try to entertain, I usually go and read the reviews, do a little research but in this case I have been to Riu before so it was a no brainer.

BIG MISTAKE!

from the greeting, to the first set of rooms, DISASTER.

THE ROOMS WERE FILTHY, NOT SOME WHAT DIRTY, FILTHY.

RED SAUCE STAINS ON THE CURTAINS, SOME YELLOWISH SUBSTANCE IN ALL THE DRAWERS, THE MANAGER SIMPLY SAID OOOPS THEY FORGOT TO CLEAN.

We asked for a upgrade, our American Express Concierge finally set something up, got to the other property, paid 1900.00 for the upgrade and thought let's relax!

Wasn't meant to happen, had to have the rooms fumigated four times in five days because or roaches and other fine creatures and what's more hilarious had to bribe people to get it done.

The only time that they were nice was the one night they they will ask you to fill a survey.

After five days we gave up, just got up and left, went to iberostar where we relaxed for he following five days.

DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY, ITS NOTHING LIKE THE OTHER RIUS OR BETTER SAYING ITS NOT A HOTEL IS A BARN.

Room Tip: Select another hotel
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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.
San Jose, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The lobby is what I call cruiseship-esque. It's very colorful and spacious but it's definitely not posh or elegant. My room was nice since it was in the VIP area facing the ocean. The decor is modern. However, there was no view due to obstruction from all the short palm trees on the beach. Bug bites were a problem.

The staff works hard and are very friendly.

The food is average. Most of the food was the same day after day. The specialty restaurants required reservations several days ahead and were hit and missed.

There are a few shops on a road next to hotel. I found the stores closest to the beach to be rip-offs while the stores farthest from the beach to be more reasonable. Haggling is a must.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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
Amenities:
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 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*
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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