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“Amazing Resort” 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 #56 of 98 Hotels in Punta Cana
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Amazing Resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2006

The actual experience surpassed any reviews that we head read before going out there - and the reviews were excellent.

The beach is perfect in the sense that the waves are just the right height to have enough fun the sand is soft and best of all are the numerous palm trees that provide a comfortable amount of shade and complete ambience.

Oh... how did i forget about the room. It was thrilling to walk in to such a large room - and it wasn't a suite or any kind of upgrade- just basic. We were overcome by how clean and brand new everything was and perhaps the best part was the all-inclusive bar - it isn't technically a bar, but it might as well be one. Take your pick from brandy, gin, whisky and rum not to mention the fridge that is packed full of beer and endless amounts of water!!! And it really is all-inclusive and so is breakfast in the room. Give the guy a small tip and he's happy.

If you prefer the pool to the beach then you won't be disappointed. Although we didn't use the pool it looked extremely nice.

As if we weren’t spoiled enough I explored a little bit around the immaculate grounds of the hotel and stumbled on spa that I can only describe as heaven on earth- it was absolutely amazing. I used the two large Jacuzzis, sauna and lounge chairs and found it to be a completely relaxing environment. My wife went there for massages e.t.c

Guys you shouldn't be too concerned about getting out of bed early to bag a good spot on the beach as there is plenty of room especially now that peak season is over. So relax and get breakfast in the room, or go to Don Manuel where breakfast is served from 7:00 till 10:30. Personally i found that coffee and croissants in the room early, then continental breakfast at the restaurant by the beachfront between 10:30-12 to be just perfect. Lunch is served at the same place from 12-5. In other words there is no reason to go hungry any time of the day.

Enjoy your trip.

  • Liked — Hotel decor, beach, staff
  • Disliked — Everything is in German
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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  • 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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  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Central New Jersey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2006

My boyfriend and I (early 20s) spent a week at the Riu Palace Punta Cana from 8/30-9/05. After reading the reviews before I left, I was kinda skeptical and a little concerned. Overall, the hotel was great and we had a great time. Here are some details:
Rooms: We had a regular junior suite, and because it was an end room we had a double balcony. Yeah, the beds were a little hard, but I'm used to it and after spending all day in the sun there were no problems getting to sleep. The room is very nice, and new...I don't really know why anyone had any comlaints. The fridge was stocked with bottled sodas and beer, as well as the liquor cabinet. One night the bar service man stopped by and gave me a bottle of champagne as well as a couple of dominican gifts-very nice of him so we tipped him.

Pools & Beach: The pool was never too crowded, but it was like a warm bathtub. The pool bar made the aread reek of stale beer, but it wasn't as noticeable the further away from the bar you were. The beach was beautiful- the reason why you should visit Punta Cana. There was plenty of shade and chairs. Drink service at the pool and beach were a little slow, so I had no problem walking the 20 ft. to the bar to get my own drinks. There are lots of topless women at the beach and men in banana-hammocks, which you don't see much of here at the Jersey Shore.

Restaurants: From reviews, I was expecting the food to be inedible, which it wasn't. The food was ok, decent. Nothing amazing, but there was always something to eat. Breakfast was the best meal of the day. Lunch was served in either the main dining area or by the pool. I recommend going to the main room because there was a better selection. There were no problems making reservations for the specialty restaurants. I recommend heading there a few minutes before 10 am so you won't have to be at the end of the line. We ate the the steakhouse (it was ok, my least favorite of the ones we ate at), the Japanese (pretty decent- the sushi looked a little suspicous so I didn't eat it), and the Gourmet twice (this was pretty good). The food is definitely geared toward Europeans, and there were plenty of them there.

Entertainment: There was a show each night, and it was ok. Karaoke night was really funny- lots of Americans participated and it was a good time. There's also a live band playing in the courtyard which was nice. Walked down to Carribean Street one night, and there was some dancing going on, nothing special...and it was extremely hot there so we didn't go back.
** My only complaint is that besides the places to eat, there is no tother food available. We got really hungry between lunch and dinner, and after dinner. Last summer I stayed at the Iberostar in Riveriera Maya, Mexico and it was 24-hour room service. The Riu definitely needs something like that. The staff overall don't speak great English, but we both speak a little Spanish so we were fine. I would suggest brushing up on some Spanish before you go.

Excursions: We did the Bavaro Splash, where you can drive speedboats and do some snorkeling. It was a good time. Saw tons of fish. We also went on the full-day Saona Island tour. It's a long day, but the catermaran trip alone is worth it. Saona Island is really nice, the water was full of coral so you can't really swim, and it was so hot there that you'll want to sit in the shade. The next part of the trip is a speedboat ride to a sandbar to swim with the starfish. We were told not to dive because the water was only waist-deep. Someone didn't listen and dove in- ended up hitting his head and floating and no one noticed for a few minutes. By the time we got the man out of the water, he wasn't breathing but thankfully there were nurses aboard and gave him CPR, until he came-to. From there, we all booked it in the speedboat to the nearest hotel (which was about a 15-minute drive) so the man could be brought to the hospital. He possibly suffered a stroke due to his head trauma, and it was a really scary incident. We had to drive to the hospital in our big tour bust to drop off the other family members....it was a really long day, but everything before that incident was a great time.

This was our first trip to Punta Cana, and I would go back at some point. However, I don't think I'd stay at the Riu because there isn't food available between meals/after meals. Other than that, it was a really great time, so don't let the negative reviews scare you- go relax and have fun!

  • Liked — New, beautiful, great beach
  • Disliked — Lack of food/room service, food wasn't great
  • Tips/Secrets — Learn some Spanish before you go
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2006

Let me start off by saying that Punta Cana and the new Riu Palace are absolutely beautiful. This was my first stay at an all-inclusive and my first trip to Punta Cana. We really loved the resort. Our favorite thing was the swim-up bar. I also really enjoyed being able to visit the other Riu’s and going to Caribbean St. (In between Riu Palace Macao and Riu Naibo). Great little place to shop for tourist items.

The hotel staff was great. Everyone was so nice and friendly. They really went out of their way to make sure you had a pleasant stay.

If I were to find a complaint which is really hard to do with this resort is that after the first few days we were tired of the food on the lunch buffet. It seemed to be the same old stuff. They definitely need more lunch choices. Dinner was great. Our trip was short because we missed our flight (never using Spirit Airlines again).We only ate at two of the ala-carts, Sir Oscars and the Japanese, and two times at Don Manuel (the main buffet). Dinner was great at all places, but especially the ala-carts.

I didn’t do any excursions because of the shortened trip but my boyfriend tried twice to go to deep sea fishing. The first time it rained and the second time he tried the excursion didn’t pick him up.

All this being said, I really liked the resort but don’t think I would go back. Mainly because of the food at lunchtime (I’m really picky when it comes to food). Oh and the fact that no matter how much I drank (liquor-wise), I couldn’t seem to for lack of better word, get drunk or even tipsy. My boyfriend and I are light-weights when it comes to drinking and here in the states we are really good after only two or three. After 3 or 4 there, I felt no difference. Having never stayed in Punta Cana or an all-inclusive, this just might be the norm, but I am willing to take my chances at another resort and/or another destination.

  • Liked — swim up pool bar; jetted tub in room
  • Disliked — lunch food
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2006

A girl trip two of us in mid 40's, we are accustomed to almost anything living in NY suburbs. so I want to give an honest review: we really did like the hotel, rooms were cleaned daily, in room fridge w/soda (pepsi, diet and 7-up stocked daily) spotless super clean, of course the hotel is brand new.
The food was good, different, we observed that the hotel guests were mainly from spain, thus the food was what you would be served in spain, Shrimp with heads, lots of pork, great green olives, terrible deserts all flan type. Yuck. (except for the donuts in the morning buffet they were great) A few mornings I had room serivce bring up coffee and fresh breads. that was good! the coffee was really good and it was everywhere. You did need to make reservations for the restaurants but it never took more than 10 min wait. One Good thing is we did not get sick. There was some top shelf liquor. Stoley vodka, beefeater gin etc. Oh yeah if you wanted something to eat after the buffet closed at night forget it., all they had was this ransacked sports bar with a glass door fridge with some sorry 1 slice ham sandwiches pasted with ketchup? and mystery meat burgers,with a do it yourself microwave (not worth the risk).

One thing that really shocked me was the smoking, I would refer to it as a smoke fest. The spanish guests were big on smoking and were very rude to boot. In fact my friend who was born in spain told me not to let any one know she was spanish because of the behaivor of these europeans. Culture shock! I had no idea that Europeans were such rude people. Never seen any of them tip either! You would be eating dinner and they sit next to you blowing smoke in your face. Also not a hotel for Kids, nothing for them to do, and if you do bring them FYI the floors are super slippery when wet, I witnessed quite a few falls, kids like to run beware they could really get injured.
So if you can deal with nasty bad mannered guests, an the fact that the hotel closes down at midnight, and has the same entertainment nightly ....the beach was beautiful and the pool was ok this may be the hotel for you.
I do not think I would return to PC, too risky with the water situation, Cancun is much nicer.

  • Liked — beautiful and clean and no bugs
  • Disliked — lack of english spoken,
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2006

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 babygurl4u_29@hotmail.com

  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2006

We visited the new Palace in Punta Cana the week of Aug 19-26/2006. I had read many reviews about this hotel, and must say they were very mixed, so we went with concerns. Such as, the food was horrible and unless you were willing to tip you were going to receive awful service from the bar as well as the restaurants. I have to say my girlfriend and I were pleasantly surprised that none of that is true. There was very little tipping for the bar or restaurants, most of the tipping happened when one of the staff climbed a palm tree to retrieve a coconut, and the cost was 1$ american. We were told we could stay at one and eat and play at 5. This isnt exactly true. You can play and eat and drink at all but not at the other Palace. The food is very good, even though there was food items that we personnally didn't eat, we never came away hungry. To make reservations for the a la carte restaurants make sure you get in the line up before 9:30 a.m., as seating is very limited. I will tell you one thing the staff are very eager to please, they are so friendly , I didnt want to leave, as they all said they would miss us more than we will miss them. Would we return? The answer is a definate yes, the only property that I would stay at would be the new Palace. It will be magnificent once the palm trees grow and the growing pains are over. They are doing very well for being open just a short 4 months. Do yourself a favour and book yourself a bit of paradise.

  • Liked — The friendly staff!
  • Disliked — The uncomfortable bed...too hard
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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59 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 219 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2006

Previous reviews have covered most of the topics so I will try to avoid repetition.

Check in was fast, I asked for two rooms near each other and close to the beach and got exactly what I asked for. I found the front desk to be fluent in English and also fast response to any requests when called. Do check the drink bottles in the room refrigerator upon arrival as there may be some opened ones left from the previous occupant.

Food: We have stayed at countless all inclusive's, the food here was better than average, not great, but something for everybody at the buffets. There was a line each morning for making restaurant reservations but we just strolled in before 1pm and got the steakhouse one night and the gourmet another, no waiting in line. We all felt the buffet was just as good or better than the restaurants. We were all very careful to not eat uncooked vegetables and unpeeled fruit etc. and for the most part we did very well with only minor stomach upsets. Cappuccino machines at the bars and buffet! Our friends had room service a couple of mornings for coffee and fruit. The bars provided us with bottles of Wine, Champagne, tonic, extra limes or whatever we wanted to take back to our room or to sit poolside at night.

Water: A gallon of bottled water was delivered daily to the room, the ice machines were safe with treated water as was the water from the soda machine dispensers. I brought a drink bottle and just filled it at the beach bar or buffet as needed, so lack of bottled water was no issue for me.

Service: About the best we have ever had. We all were met with many smiles and "Hola". The staff went out of their way to play with the toddler. Most all the staff spoke some English, but there were times where my limited Spanish ability came in handy. Our small tips here and there and gifts of crayons and pencils and such for their children where very much appreciated.

Entertainment: The animation team sure do give it their all, but they are not professionals. I don't know why the Michael Jackson show got a good rating, I thought the skill of the dance moves in the Grease show were much more entertaining. Those were the only two shows we saw and they were in English.

Gym/Spa: Just okay. No free weights in the Gym. The "Jacuzzis" were cool water and had no jets. I had two wonderful massages by Favia.

On a side note, there are mostly non English speaking guests, so if you speak only English and prefer to meet people on vacation you might be lonely here. And those Europeans don't seem to wait their turn in the buffet line either, so get ready to have someone cut right ahead of you. All the languages got by very well on the volleyball court!

  • Liked — Awesome staff, new hotel, beautiful beach with lots of lounges and shade.
  • Disliked — Oddly, no dedicated beach/pool bathrooms.
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
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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:
#29 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#47 Luxury 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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