Just would like to start off by saying that if you booked this resort and will be going in the future, you definitely chose the right place.
I just returned from a one week stay at the riu palace Punta Cana from august 26 2006 to September 2 2006. I went with a group of 9 people ranging from 2 years old to 45 years old and everyone had a great time.
We booked to stay at the Bambu but two days before our departure we were told that they were doing renovations so they had to UPGRADE us to the Riu Palace Punta Cana. We were definitely excited as we knew we were being sent to a better hotel.
DRIVE: The drive was about 30 minutes from the Punta Cana airport. We were with sunquest so as soon as we got off the plane we were directed to a large bus that took us straight to the hotel. (If this is your first time going to Dominican, don't let the drive to the resort scare you away. The view on the drive to the resort is definitely not nice. It is a third world country and therefore is very poor, yet as soon as you pass the gates into the riu, it is PARADISE.)
CHECK-IN: As soon as I entered the palace, it was like nothing I had ever seen before in Dominican Republic. It definitely is a palace with big chandeliers and beautiful scenery everywhere. From the lobby there is a big stair case which brings you right down to the court yard. Upon seeing the lobby, I was already satisfied. Check-in happened very quickly. We were welcomed with drinks and sent up to our rooms right away. (There are bell boys at the hotel that will try to wait by your luggage’s to bring them up, but even though tips are included, they usually expect a tip so we carry them ourselves.)
ROOMS: The rooms are very clean and beautiful. The mini-bars filled with water, pop and alcoholic beverages are given. (Replenished daily by the maids) Every room at the palace is a suite and therefore it has one side with the bed and then a couple steps going down with the couch and television. The room had a swan with flowers on our bench which was beautiful. It was definitely the cleanest room I had ever been in. No bugs or dirt at all. From the shower to the beds to the sinks, everything was nice. We did not have a courtyard/pool/ocean view room. We were placed on the outside of the palace, yet we still had nice scenery of the palm trees. We also had a view of the riu bamboo rooms from our balcony.
The only con about the room would be that the mattress is a little bit too hard. Also, I would suggest that you throw away the flowers given on your swn. Although they are pretty, they may create insects after a while.
Another wonderful thing is that when you leave the room, it is not a normal hallway. It is another balcony type with palm trees in the middle.
GROUNDS: The grounds were lovely. Every piece of land on that resort was well maintained. There are workers grooming the place 24/7. Even the walkway from the courtyard to the beach was kept so clean. The courtyard has fountains and palm trees everywhere. It also has a large area with tables just to relax. In the courtyard, there is a band playing every night and people are able to dance. Also when you are seated at the courtyard at night time, orders are taken and drinks are constantly served to you.
BEACH: The beach at riu palace is crystal clear blue water and definitely paradise. It has white sand and a shipwreck right in the front of the resort. In order to get this clear water, you must stay to the south side of Dominican such as here in punta cana or la romana. (Do not go to Puerta Plata if you are expecting Caribbean blue water).
Cons: The water here is a little bit wavy, therefore it is not that good for snorkeling and the waves sometimes take away from the clearness of the water. Yet, with the waves, it is still paradise. Also, there are palm trees everywhere for shade.
*Never a problem finding a beach chair in the morning. I was down at the beach by 9am and there were always many available.
**Beautiful cabana on the beach to get married at**
POOL: The pool is like every other. It is just what you need. There is a pool bar, lounger chairs in the water, seats and tables for your drinks located in the water (pretty unique and convenient) The water is about four feet deep all around. There is also another circular pool just meant for relaxation with chairs along the outside. That is a quieter and much more relaxing pool. The pool was cleaned every morning. It was maintained okay but obviously never in absolute perfect condition. It was clean enough though. There were a few bees floating on top of the pool by the end of every day, yet that can’t be controlled. The pool was always kept pretty warm.
Also there was never a problem finding a chair by the pool. Half of them were always empty and the resort was pretty full at the time I went so there is definitely enough chairs for the amount of guests.
ENTERTAINMENT: Always games during the day, aerobics in the pool, dancing lessons, volleyball on the beach etc…
At night the band in the courtyard is pretty good and there are shows put on every night. They do get a little bit repetitive as the whole week I was there they were all tropical types of dancing shows, but they are fun to watch. Apparently they were doing a karaoke show the night I left so that should have got the audience involved. Butin terms of the week I was there, there weren’t any shows where the audience could participate. The people who put on the shows definitely worked hard to put on a wonderful performance.
The animacion team is great. The always want to get everyone involved in the games daily.
SERVICE: WOW!..I rate the service at this resort a 10 out of 10. I definitely was treated as if I were royal the entire week. All the staff are there to satisfy your every need. Obviously there is the language barrier as they speak Spanish, but some know English and try their best to understand you. From the waiters to the bartenders to the cleaners, reception desk, etc. they try to make you have a pleasant stay.
I was also surprised in how the servers would come around to the pool and deliver drinks all day. I know this is done at other resorts, but not nearly as much as the riu palace.
EXCURSIONS: Parasailing $85us for 2 people and that’s consists of 10 minutes in the air.
FOOD: Food is pretty good. So many people go to these resorts with extremely high expectations and complain about the food, yet the food is good. The buffet is a little bit repetitive therefore I would break it up and add in some a la carte restaurants. The restaurants I tried consist of the following. ---The Italian restaurant was very good. Japanese was even better. The Brazilian restaurant, La Bodega, was Okay. They served every kind of meat, so if you like meat, I would recommend this restaurant. Reservations for these restaurants are either at 6:30 and 8:30/9:00
The snack bar was located in the sports bar. It was not too good. They basically have hot dogs and hamburgers in the fridge which you could warm up in the microwave. That was the only bad part about the food. Yet, it did not really bug any of us as the buffet was open pretty late so we just went there if we were hungry. Also, there is a pizzeria which opens at 12am located at Caribbean Street.
SHOPPING: There is the Caribbean street for shopping which is like a 10 to 15 minute walk past the riu bambu and the riu palace Macao. A walk way will take you through all these resorts and then end at Caribbean Street. Caribbean street is okay, yet not really worth walking that far as there are some stores located right next to the pool at riu palace punta cana that consist mostly of the same items.
In terms of the vendors that you could bargain with, some come to the resort in the courtyard and set up little booths at night time. This occurred twice in the week I was there. Also, if you are up for a long walk on the beach, you can take a 30-45 minutes walk to the right side of the resort. You must pass all of the rius and then also pass the iberostar resort. After this, there are a whole bunch of vendors with jewelry etc. and you can bargain with them a great deal. (It is a pretty far walk though, especially in the sand and the heat)
CHECK-OUT: Check out was at 12pm and our bus was not coming to pick us up until 5:30 pm, so they made us keep a couple rooms in order for us to keep our luggage and freshen up before we leave. (No Extra charge and no hassle at all)
OVERALL: I have been to the Dominican Republic 5 times now and this is definitely the nicest place I have been too. Nothing can compare to the rooms, the service, the cleanliness, the food, the beach and the pool. You definitely feel like you are in paradise at this place. If you have any other questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.