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“Worn out Hotel” 3 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 #53 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
Dearborn, Michigan, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Worn out Hotel”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

Recently returned from punta Cana with emptiness. Staying at this particular hotel was quite disappointing. Hotel is tired and old. The rooms are full of odor. Plenty of leaky walls. Bathrooms are old. Ants everywhere. Room service was awful. Many nights we returned to room in evening and rooms weren't cleaned.. The lobby is like visiting grandmas house. Trying to be luxurious but worn out. The pool area is a joke. Pools are so old and need major renovation.. Too small for the crowd. Lots of nastiness at pool area (twerking ). I have kids and didn't seem it was kid friendly. The beach is full of seaweed. Windy and gusty waves. However pool and beach are only few steps. The restaurants are nice. The buffet had plenty to offer. Good choices. The theatre was old. However staff was superb. Staff was a hit or miss.. Victor at pool area was wonderful. Anny at restaurant was a delight. Entertainment was cheap... Boring on many nights. I definately will return to Dominican Republic but Will NOT return to this old worn out hotel.. Punta Cana is gorgeous and I felt I did not completely get the rush of visiting such a beautiful island.

Stayed April 2015, traveled with family
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3,267 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
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

We had our dream honeymoon at the Riu.
I'm the kind of person that likes to go to all sorts of different places and resorts all the time, I don't enjoying going to the same place twice, but we'll definitely be coming back to the Riu.

We booked our honeymoon through an agent, so they told us about there being other Riu hotels beside ours that we could go to, but we didn't need to, the Riu was just amazing. On the drive there, our Riu Palace hotel was the last stop and with every riu it got better and better even though they're all 5 stars, but this one just made our jaw drop.

It truly is like a palace. The food is incredible, the buffet is amazing (chocolate fountains, macarons, you name it, they have it.) the food is always fresh (especially the seafood, INCREDIBLE). The staff was amazing, we made friends with a lot of them, in fact there always was a waiter that kept a look out for us and saving us the seats he knew we liked to sit in. We appreciated all the staff members, they're great at serving and wanting to do their best for you so you can have the best time there, and just being great people in general. We laughed and smiled the whole 10 days there.

When we got there, we didn't have the honeymoon suite as it wasn't available, but all we had to do was show some tip money (haha) and a lobby staff member took us up on the offer and gave us the honeymoon suite closest to the ocean. We always had an incredible view. He also let us go and see our room to make sure that we liked it before we tipped, it was actually being cleared out by the housekeepers right then so we were thankful it was available for us at just the right time. We were able to get that room without any extra charges, we just gave a generous tip that the staff members split amongst themselves. We were aware going on that these people work hard to serve all the travelers there and make the hotel five stars daily.

They have representatives from different activity groups everywhere (we were instructed to go with the people that we came, to make sure that all is legit - Sunwing) and we did parasailing as well as snorkelling and the ocean pool. It was a greattt experience.

It was really the most relaxing experience, and I'm not even a foodie (my husband is big time though) and I was ridiculously impressed with all the food so much so that I want to go back for sure.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My husband and I check in the Riu Palace on 3/25/15 and everything seems ok at that time. once we check in the room we went up to the room and walk into a room with two beds. I was very clear this was my first year anniversary when I book the room and that it was just two people. After calling down to the front desk they did come up and move us to another room. We unwind for a few mins the went down to few the entire property once we start asking questions to the staff we realize they do not speak English. we end up walking around until we end up at the RIU bamboo next door we did not even know another RIU was next door and that we were allow to go there. There is actually 4 RIU next door each another and we could go to all four but was never told when we check in.
trying to communicate with every staff member was difficult no English. which for us was very weird because you are dealing with international guest not just Spanish guest. there was a few people there that try hard to help us as much as they did not speak much of any English. from the restaurant there was Audi, Shaggy front desk Rismery was very nice and helpful. The pool was not in good condition this property needs to be remodel. We book a trip with Amstar to go to the Bavoro Splash and pick up time was at 1:50 pm and they never show up. When my husband went to the front desk to check as to why Amstar is not there as yet no one was helpful to call for us they just told my husband to sit and wait they will show up. Well three hours later no one show up when Rismery came we went and talk with her and she call and we were told by Amstar rep they did not come because they did not have enough people book for the trip. So we suffer after we paid our $200 for our trip and no one call us. Overall we try our best to enjoy our trip and we did outside of everything else. The sofa in the room was so dirty we spread a sheet over it. The room attendant Myra saw that we spread a sheet over the sofa and call in someone to clean the sofa. Myra was very awesome.The worse part for us was the communication with staffs. We spend four days there and we do not think we would go back to the RIU palace. Compare to the RIU Palace in Montego Bay Jamaica we were very disappointed. Riu Palace in Jamaica was the best.

Room Tip: just ask to look at the room before you are check into it.
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  • Stayed March 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Lisbon, Portugal
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

First stay in a RIU Hotel. Enjoyable hotel with nice hotel rooms with flat tv. One major swimming pool that sometimes seems small for so many people. At the end of each day the pool was quite dirty and with high temperature as its seems there is no fliter/water circulating.Was travelling with 2 kids and found that I was better off on the beach or on the second, smallest pool. Every night we had a night show in the indoor theatre but the loud music close to rooms facing the inside od the hotel were affected by the late loud noise. Although the music is nice, those staying in the rooms closeby and wanting to have an early rest will not be able to. So, depending on what you are looking for, make sure to request the hotel rooms facing inside or outside. BUT, since the trip was to enjoy the nice weather and have fun with the kids the hotel was reasonable.

Room Tip: Choose rooms nearer to the beach and facing outside if want to get away from noise
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My friend and I had a lovely time at this beautiful resort. I read some of the negative reviews on here, but tend not to pay too much attention to them as things that bother some people, simply do not bother me I guess. I'll break it down into categories.

Lobby: Stunning. Palatial. Very friendly welcome of papaya juice and they had my room and information package ready and waiting.

Room: Yes, it smelled musty when you first walk in (VERY humid in DR). But it fades quickly...don't worry. The room was shut tight and power was off (activated by a switch at the door). But, I opened the patio door and the smell leaves quickly. At night, we shut the patio door and the air conditioning would automatically come on. Kept the room nice and cool. Didn't notice the musty smell after the first day.

Maid service: We had a lovely woman named Ana. I tipped her at least $4 a day and arranged the bills playfully in the towel animals she left for us. She got more and more creative as the week went on. It was fun and she took great care of our room.

Beach: Stunning. I don't think anyone reviewing here has said otherwise. Lush with palm trees too, which I like.

Pool/Poolbar: Our fav was Christian. He was loads of fun. Met loads of people. "Party time" began around 3 pm. The activity staff always held contests or games. Hilarious! Loads of loungers around pool and beach. Never had a problem finding one. If you want one directly beside pool, you need to be up early. I got up at 6:30 once and there were already towels! Beautiful sun rises by the way. I do recommend.

Wifi: It's not good. My room was near the beach. Was hit and miss whether I had service...even in the lobby! But, I didn't care about that much. I had enough of a connection to tell my family I was having a good time. Done.

Buffet: We loved the buffet. They changed it up a little bit each day. Loved the Japanese nights when they would put up sushi. MMM. No one should have a problem finding something they like. It was huge. Didn't like the precooked pasta, but I did try the custom pasta bar and it was delicious. So, expect hit and miss (like most buffets in the world), but I maintain you shouldn't have a problem finding loads of tasty things to eat.

Wine: If you love your wine (like I do), don't bother. Particularly with the Red. Smelled horrible and like the type of wine someone proudly presents to you as a gift and announces they made it themselves. Ick. But I have never found a nice wine served anywhere in the Dominican. Strangely, I found their sparkling wine pretty tolerable and enjoyed a Mimosa or two in the morning!

Specialty Restaurants: They DO try, bless their hearts. We tried three of them. The Japanese one started with some tasty sushi. However, what was described in the menu was not what they brought us. :) but that's ok, it was still good. Next we asked for an appetizer of deep fried spring rolls. We received fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. LOL. I said to the waiter "These aren't deep fried". He smiled and said "I don't know". We just smiled back. Then they brought shrimp tempura. I took one bite and the batter was soft and the shrimp tasted "fishy". Didn't take another bite. I looked at the woman to my right and she was biting into the same thing. She looked up at her husband with a horrified look on her face. So, we left and headed for the buffet. Was delicious there!

Steakhouse: Was pretty good. Was no Keg, but I recommend the rib eye. My friend had the lobster, which was dry, but someone who had the lobster said it was pretty good.

Krystal: the fusion place. Avoided trying the foie gras as I didn't want my first taste of foie gras to be in Dominican. :) I had a lamb with couscous. Wasn't bad. All in all, we preferred the buffet because if we didn't like it, we could try something else.

Nightlife: We didn't really stick around. Went back to our room. But it is a beautiful area to sit and have an after dinner cocktail and watch the band.

Casino: The one at this resort is a little room off of the sports bar. Don't bother. Played Blackjack and lost. 3 times. It is an independent of Riu area apparently, so Riu is not responsible for the casino. The girl dealing seemed kind of con-like. Counted too fast, swept up the cards too fast, took my chips away too fast. Felt like I was falling victim to some sort of slight of hand trick. I play blackjack (and love it) whenever I go to a casino and never felt this way before. Weird. But just my feeling. We didn't go to the other casino at the neighbouring resort.

Dominican People: They are the most beautiful people, truly. Always a smile and an "hola!". I kept trying to speak Spanish, and they were very sweet about helping me. I would never go to a foreign country and be offended if they didn't speak my language. It would be like someone from Russia coming to Canada and being offended that I wasn't prepared to speak their language when talking to me. Learn a few key questions and you'll be fine. They love that you try. Even the ones that I had a hard time communicating with, their English was STILL better than my Spanish! :) Have fun with it! If you really need to speak to someone who speaks English, just contact the front desk and they will help you.

In summary: I gave the Riu 5 stars because I was comfortable, I felt safe, I laughed a lot, I was surrounded by beauty and I was treated like a queen by people who were very eager to please. The hotel is not perfect....not many hotels are that are over 5 years old...particularly in such a humid area. Don't sweat it. It IS clean. Don't look for problems and you won't find any. Believe me. You're there to have fun. If you want perfect, you'll have to pay through the nose for it. This place is like most 5 stars south of Florida in this price range. It is GREAT! We had a wonderful time, were treated like royalty, met some wonderful people, ate great food and had some silly fruity drinks.

There is my honest review. So stop reading now and go have a fab time! Sarah

Room Tip: Superior rooms get you a view of inner courtyard. We had an upper room: 2050. Was great with a bea...
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  • Stayed March 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fareham, England, United Kingdom
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My first visit to Dominican Republic and stayed at the most amazing hotel ever. Staff were very friendly and helpful. I was with my two sisters and we are all disabled and we were looked after and helped everyday. Viktor the barman by the pool was excellent as were the entertainment team by the pool they stopped and spoke to us every day. Food was amazing and the Krystal restaurant was excellent we visited it three times during our stay. Room was clean and always cool with the air conditioning. I would definitely visit again.

  • Stayed February 2015, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Chicago, Illinois
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I have traveled to several all inclusive resorts around Mexico and the Caribbean. I also stayed at the Riu Palace in Cabo San Lucas and enjoyed it more than the location in Punta Cana.

Pros: Overall, the resort grounds and architecture were beautiful. There was wonderful landscaping and flowers everywhere. The pool was gorgeous, however, it was a bit smaller than I would have liked. The service was also excellent. The dining staff and the staff behind the desk as well as the maids were all very kind and hardworking. Whenever we had an issue, the staff was able to help us out. Also, the beach was AMAZING! It was the most beautiful beach I had ever seen and it was very easy to walk.

Cons: There were very limited activities during the day and almost no music at all at the pool during the day. I enjoy listening to music when I lay by the pool and at the Riu Palace they didn't start playing music until around 3:00pm and it usually lasted only an hour or so. This was very disappointing to me. They also did not have as many activities as I would have liked such as yoga or games at the pool. The food in general was very average. My favorite specialty restaurant was Krystal and Luigi's.

One major issue we faced at this hotel happened on the second day we arrived. We came back to our room during the day to find 2 cockroaches on our beds. We immediately called the front desk and requested to change rooms. The man we spoke to was very receptive and changed our room at that time. So we packed up our bags and moved. Later that night, I was showering in our new room when I noticed something strange coming out between the cracks of the tile in the tub. I turned the water off and discovered live worms crawling out of the cracks. We again called the front desk and requested a room change. They again changed our room without hesitation and our third room was wonderful and we did not have any issues. It was very frustrating dealing with these issues, but I was grateful that the hotel had such a great staff that did not give us a hard time when we needed to change rooms.

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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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:
#28 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#42 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts 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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