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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 #53 of 102 Hotels in Punta Cana
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Thinking about other resorts we have stayed at over the years. This one was the bottom of the barrel to us. The lobby was so gaudy looking. The staff was rude, sullen and picked who they wanted to socialize with. The entertainment staff was terrible!!! They even had enough nerve to try and sell us CDs of music-I think it was their side hustle. This is the first resort I stayed at in the DR where the people who were selling things on the beach were allowed to come up to us while we were at our beach chairs! I was going to buy some things during our excursions & shipping trip so I didn't like the same people coming up to me everyday more than once a day asking if I wanted something. This was also the first resort we stayed at where they didn't have pool side lunch. I didn't like having to dry off and put a cover up on & go inside to eat. The drinks were watered downed they couldn't make a mixed drink to save their lives and the night time shows..TERRIABLE it was just a pure waste of time each evening for us to rush to get a good seat & sit and watch them. The only positive I would say is the restaurants were nice our favorite was the Krystal restaurant & breakfast was usually good. Don't stress about dressing up too much other people didn't a couple of times pep even wore jeans in the nice restaurants but my family & I liked dressing for dinner. BUT the beach was nice, weather was awesome, & the rooms were big.

  • Stayed September 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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3,042 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
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I stayed in this resort from 14 Nov 2014 to 21 Nov 2014. I enjoyed my stay. The food was good. Sea was with clear white sand and little rough. Evening Entertainments were not very good.
Hotel lobby area was nice and good architecture.

  • Stayed November 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Rochester, New York
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

This property was beautiful. Rooms were nice and clean. Our first day the front desk called and asked if everything was alright and if we needed anything. Asked if we wanted a bottle of wine in our room and yes they brought one to us. We were there for a family wedding. Only spent one day at the beach which was crowded and not exactly as clean as most of the other beaches. But the pool was very nice. Always had someone coming and asking us if we needed drinks. A couple dollars here and there go a long way. Very good waiters at the pool! Japanese restaurant was very good. Also the French restaurant! Gotta try the creamy lobster risotto! Delish! And the fillet at the Steakhouse was very tender! Was not crazy about the Italian and didn't go to the Brazilian but some of the other family went and liked it. Alot of meat if that's what yiu like. Buffet was decent. Only went there for breakfast and lunch. Overall a very nice resort

  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

I'd read a few reviews before we went and wasn't really sure what to expect, but when we arrived it all seemed ok...check-in was fine and our room didn't smell musty like I'd read on previous reviews. However it was a special holiday for me and my partner so I had emailed the hotel before we arrived to request a room with a nice view and we got allocated a room overlooking the road and the hotel next door - but you don't really go on holiday to spend time in your room so this was ok it just would've been nice to have a nice view when we sat out on the balcony! First couple of days were ok, we spent most of our time around the infinity pool as the water looked a lot cleaner than the bigger pool, although previous reviews are correct in saying there are a lot of pool tiles missing, we had to careful not to cut ourselves on the steps!
Then the cracks started to show...we have been to the caribbean before and know that tipping is almost expected everywhere, however I do think that you should only tip if you feel that you've had exceptional service and not just for the sake of it, so the first few days we just wanted to see what the service was like and we were shocked...there is only a handful of tables available to eat outside and we began to notice that the waiting staff were reserving these tables for guests that were obviously paying them to do so. One day when we had breakfast throughout the whole time we were there sat there nobody came along and sat at that table, we don't have a problem with tipping but when every guest has booked this hotel as a 5* we felt it was unfair that some guests were getting special sevice over others! The service at this hotel definitely isn't 5!!! We tried 4 of the A La Carte restaurants, the grill stood out for us but all were ok apart from the Brazilian, it took them over 20 mins to come and offer us a drink after we'd sat down and the whole way it was set up was just really strange and the food advertised on the menu wasn't offered when we got there! This was a special holiday as my boyfriend proposed, however he had been to speak to the staff to see if they could help him arrange a special dinner and they were really unhelpful and weren't willing to help him plan this special ocassion at all and infact wanted $350 just to move a table from the grill resaturant to the verandah/gazebo on the beach. Although it actually worked out much more special the way he did it without the help from any of the staff :)
We then unfortunately got food poisoning from the snack bar down by the pool, the only thing me and my partner both ate the same were the burgers! These had obviously been hanging around in the heat all afternoon, after 2 days of not eating and feeling awful we contacted room service to ask for some bread but they turned round and said this wasn't on the menu?! But surely bread is the most simplest thing to ask for?? We waited over 2 hours and no bread turned up, after calling reception again and still no bread in the end we dragged ourselves down to reception and explained we had food poisoning, the reception staff didn't apologise once but said they'd pass it on to the manager. Our tummys didn't ever fully recover, even by the end of the holiday we still had to be really careful what we were eating!! The manager never got in contact with us, so we went and found him on our last night, eventually we got an apology but he didn't offer us anything to make up for the 2 days of our holiday that were ruined!!
Overall the hotel wasn't awful but the service and food hygeine just wasn't what you'd expect from what is supposed to be a 5 hotel, I have been to lots of other Riu hotels as I work in the travel industry and I'm afraid this Riu lets the others down.

  • Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Overall a really good experience. Decent food choices but would have preferred more options for lunch. You will have to make reservations for dinner if you want something other than the buffet but this was not a problem at all. Rooms were decent but the property layout doesn't leave many options for beach views from the room. This was okay as we were rarely in the room. The nightly shows were entertaining and a great place to meet other travelers. The beach area was great... plenty of shade (if you need it), plenty of loungers and no need to go out early to claim a spot. Really enjoyed the drink service on the beach. Was nice to not have to trek back to bar every time we got thirsty. The reception staff were friendly enough but the restaurant, bar, and social staff were all amazing.... funny, friendly, and very courteous. They all genuinely wanted us to enjoy our stay. Shopping area was a nice - about 15 little souvenir type stores. Definitely recommend !!

Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

We were pleasantly surprised to see the size of the resort. Most resorts we stayed at in the past are really spread out and lots and lots of walking always involved. This resort is shaped like a "U" with a court yard in the middle. Everything you need is either in the front, i.e. restaurants, entertainment, bars or at the back, pools, beach and another restaurant. The check in was really fast. We asked to change rooms so we could be on the same side as our friends, not a problem. The Riu Palace hotels have 2 style of rooms, either ultra modern or a more colonial style. We choice the Riu Palace Punta Cana for the room style which was the colonial. It is true the curtains and bedspread were a bit outdated but other than that the room was really clean. Our room was facing the courtyard and noise was never an issue. Our maid was there every morning at 9:00. Never had this happen on a vacation before. We left her money every other day and on the days when we did not leave money we left small gifts. The maid actually found us in the hall and thanked us. The room itself has plenty of closet space, hangers and drawers. The bed was firm but comfortable. One of the best parts was the shower. We had hot water no matter what time we took showers. The water one day was so hot, I had to actually turn it down. The shower pressure was great. The rooms do smell musty, but all rooms we have been throughout the Caribbean smell that way. We tried most of the a la carte restaurants and found Krystal and the Japanese to be the best. We were very disappointed with Luigi's and La Altagracia. We had the chance to return to one of them but opted for the buffet instead. The buffet was very good with a large selection offered. Twice during our stay they had turkey, It was for the American Thanksgiving. We never made it to the pool. The chairs were always saved early in the morning, so we do not know if the pool was missing tiles. We spent all our time on the beach. The service on the beach was very good. especially with Carlitos. He saw us and right away he had our drinks coming. At the end of the day about 4:00, the waiter would come along the beach with a tray of fruit. Nice touch. It was a nice stay and would defiantly go back there again. The people at this hotel were always very helpful. This was the second stay at a Riu Palace and we are looking forward to the next one. Just have to figure out where!

  • Stayed November 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oley, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were a little hesitant to book through this resort based on inconsistent TA reviews – however, the reasonable price and recommendations from acquaintances who have been to this resort swayed us to take a chance on the Riu Palace Punta Cana. I jotted down some tips throughout our stay which will hopefully help other travelers.

*If you have been to other resorts throughout the Caribbean, you will know that sometimes, no matter how hard they try, the musty odor cannot be completely eliminated. It’s a warm, moist environment. We didn’t find it any more offensive than other places we have visited.

*The staff at this resort goes out of their way to help you and encourage you to have a good time. From Pablo at the front desk, to Louise our Amstar representative, or Garcia at the pool bar, you will find that the staff is warm and welcoming. We weren’t sure if this was genuinely how they felt or if it was a ruse to rustle up tips. However, we soon found out that these people work 14 hour days – you may have the same staff serve you breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and don’t make very much. Please bring plenty of small bills – even a small tip is well appreciated!

*It took us a day or two to figure out the daily routine/schedule of activities. You will receive a paper with information regarding restaurant times, reservations, etc. and a map of the property. We felt a daily schedule of activities would be beneficial – we had no idea what time yoga started or when poolside bingo began. There is a crew of staff similar to Sandals “Playmakers” that interacted with the guests and really got them involved.

*The water in the rooms is not potable; the resort provides 2 1½ L bottles of water in your refrigerator daily. They will tell you it is safe to brush your teeth with but we didn’t chance it. In fact, we had no issue with the food/water/ice/drinks ON THE PROPERTY.

*Book your dinner reservations early. We arrived at Luigi’s at 8:00am to book and found out there was more than 1 choice each night and also that we could book up to 3 nights in advance. Do it early and get it done! We ate at Luigi’s (Italian), La Altagracia (Steakhouse) and Krystal (French Fusion). We liked Krystal the best, which surprised both of us. The lobster risotto and filet of beef were excellent. Bear in mind there only 2 seatings each night at the specialty restaurants – 6:30 and 9:30 pm.

*Be a smart traveler and know your exchange rates. $1 US = 43.5 Dominican Pesos. Some items are not marked or only marked in pesos. Be aware vendors will try to take advantage of traveler ignorance. I had a vendor try to tell me a 345 peso bottle of rum was $13 US. Everyone has a smart phone, use it! The vendors will quickly fall in line – they don’t want to lose the sale.

*We came loaded for bear with bug spray, OFF! mosquito repellent fans, etc. based on the past reviews. We found the Riu to be one of the most well-controlled insect/mosquito resorts we have ever been to. The groundskeeping crew was spraying the shrubbery nonstop and it showed.

*One regret I have is not learning a few conversational Spanish phrases, words, etc. The staff is good about speaking English, but they also receive a large amount of German travelers too – you will hear things being repeated in Spanish, English, and German – so do your part and acknowledge the staff in Spanish if you can. A simple “hola” “Buenos dias” or “Gracias” can go a long way!

We would not hesitate to return to any of the Riu properties in Punta Cana for a carefree week of fun in the sun!

Room Tip: Our room was 0014 and faced a row of trees bordering the Riu Bambu. Very private!
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  • Stayed December 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
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:
#38 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#48 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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