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“very relaxing holiday” 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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Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #53 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Brentwood,Essex, UK
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“very relaxing holiday”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2006

if your looking to relax & sunbathe while reading a good book under the swaying palm trees, then you `l love this place, the Macao was exactly what we wanted, ***** star with all the bells & whistles.

the food was good, the service even better, if you have teenage children seeking a hectic time, they will be bored stiff here, as the evening entertainment is very lame.

for scuba divers, the reefs are not very good at this resort, the sea can be rough beyond the breakers with huge swells making it very difficult to enter the water from the boat, i booked 8 dives, & i was disappointed with all of them.

overall, it was a nice hotel, with probably the beast beach i `v ever seen.

  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 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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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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new york city
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2006

We stayed at Riu Palace Punta Cana from 9/16th to 9/23rd. It was one of our best vacations ever! The service was excellent from the waiters to the ANIMACION peple. On my birthday, they decorated our room with balloons and even gave me gifts. That was really something! For dinner, my husband arranged a surprise birthday cake for me. So they had our table decorated with fresh flowers all over and the waiters sang while they brought in the cake. It was really nice.

The room was not too big but just the right size for us. The cleaning ladies are always around and they do a good job. The turn-down service was a nice touch. Although our only complaint is that the room did have a smell which sticks to your clothing. But the resort cannot help it. Punta Cana is just a warm, humid place. Just make sure that you always keep the air conditioner on.

The beach and the pool were just amazing! It was really picture perfect. There are plenty of loungers to go around so don't worry. Although if you want a good spot , try to get there by 8 or 9 in the morning.

Overall, I would recommend Riu Palace Punta Cana to anyone. I read the reviews here and I was hesitant at first with some of the bad comments. But after staying there, I would not hesitate to go back.

  • Liked — excellent service and the resort is just beautiful
  • Disliked — the smell in the room
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
florida
1 review
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2006

Just got back yesterday and wanted to share my wonderful experience about the hotel. We are frequent travellers and have been in many beatiful places and resorts around the world. The RIU palace Punta Cana was the most impressive hotel I've ever stayed at. The service was excellent and resort is very well maintained. We tried some of the ala carte restaurant however by the 2nd day i realize the Don Manuel Buffet style restaurant was better because it had a wide variety of items including caviar one day of the week. The staff was very nice. It is a very quite resort compare to the other RIU which u can choose visit at walking distance. We highly recommend this hotel.

  • Liked — The food, service
  • Disliked — not much access to buy souveniers
  • Tips/Secrets — they provide gallons of water
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, FL
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2006

I just stayed (Mid Sep) in the RIU Palace Punta Cana for a week with my wife, we are in our late 20’s.

The hotel is gorgeous and its lobby it’s very impressive with its use of marble and very elegant decoration. Once you arrive at the hotel you know you are in a special place. Check in was very fast. We stayed in room 0045 which was very close to the beach and pool.

-- Pros --
Service: Very good service in every area of the hotel. From the ala carte restaurants to the buffets to the beach grill. It seems like every person working there always has a smile on their face. My room air conditioner was not cooling enough, I stopped by the lobby to report this issue and before I arrived at my room 2 technicians were already working on the problem.

Drinks : Top shelf drinks in all bar (Johnny Walker, Jack Daniel) and the bartenders will fix your drinks exactly how you like them. For most of my stay I drank Caipiriña with ½ sprite or 7UP and ½ rum. The wine and the champagne available in the bars are also good.

Food: This is a resort, so you have your standard resort food but some nights the buffet was very good. We really enjoyed the Caribbean night in the buffet. The gourmet Ala carte restaurant that we tried was very good. Had the tenderloins which were small but very good. My wife had the fish and was very happy.

Beach: What a beautiful beach, the sand feels like silk and the water is very clear. The beach current and the waves can be a little strong for a small child but not a problem for an adult. I personally prefer to hang by the pool.

Room: Standard RIU palace room. Looks just like the one in Cancun. Comfortable bed, nice balcony and spacious bathroom.


-- Cons –

Entertainment: Night entertainment can be pretty lame with the exception of the Michael Jackson show. But since guests at the RIU Palace have access to the other RIU hotels we just had dinner in the Palace and went to the shows in the other hotels. Kareoke in the Bambu on Sat was A LOT of fun.

Water: If you like to drink a lot of water bring bottle water from outside the hotel. There is a gallon of water that is stored in the small fridge in the room but it taste kinda weird and there is NO bottle water anywhere in the hotel.

Billiards: Not included in the hotel and it cost US$3 per game in the sports bar. Pretty much a ripoff.

Disco: A real meat market. I went there twice and both times they were playing Merengue music. A lot of locals and not really the place where you would take your wife. A lot of single people looking to hook up, but once again some people may consider that a PRO and not a CON…

SMOKE: Oh my good… I don’t understand how Europeans can smoke so much. Cigarette smoke seems to be everywhere, pool, bar, show area and people don’t care if there are small children near by, they still smoke. This specifically bothered me during the show because everybody is in a semi enclosed space. I mentioned this to the director as the only thing that has bothered me during my stay.

Japanese Restaurant: Don’t waste your time going there. I can find better Sushi in my local supermarket.

I will recommend taking an afternoon and having a photo session with Alexis the photographer from the Hotel and also taking and afternoon and walking to the little market by the beach (about 30 min walk)

  • Liked — Service - Everybody seems eager to please the guests
  • Disliked — Smoke - Alot of people smoke and there seems to be no "non-smoking" section besides the restaurants
  • Tips/Secrets — go to the little market to buy your presents
  • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sicklerville, New Jersey
1 review
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2006

My wife and I just returned from the new Riu Palace Punta Cana. Let me start with the bad stuff. They didn’t use real strawberries in their strawberry daiquiri’s. The pool water was too warm. They had no bottled water, just purified water and ice in cups at the bars and restaurants and gallon bottles in the room. Other than that, I couldn’t find any fault with this “FABULOUS” resort!!
Every room is a jr. suite or better with the in-room alcohol dispensers (rum, gin, vodka, whiskey), fully stocked mini-bar (beer, soda, juice, water), whirlpool tub, private balcony, satellite TV, etc…. I heard some folks complain about the hard mattresses, however, I never slept better in my life!
There are 6 restaurants, 5 theme (Italian, Gourmet, Japanese, Brazilian, Steakhouse) and 2 buffets (the buffet by the pool doubles as the steakhouse at night). For an all-inclusive, the food was excellent! Forget all-inclusive, THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT!! There was always a good selection of entrees and sides and a variety of deserts. One night they actually served “caviar’ in the buffet! That same night all of the ladies received “roses’ and the men cigars as the entered the buffet. I tried not to over eat, but it was hard. The service was excellent at all of the restaurants; there was always someone there to refill your glass or to provide whatever you might need. The ala-carts do require reservations (daily between 10am and 1pm. I never waited more than 30 seconds to a minute to make a reservation) and men must wear long pants.
There are 2 pools plus a kiddie pool. There is a bar in the main pool. It also has several Jacuzzi’s, a dozen (in pool) loungers and sitting areas with tables for your drinks or snacks. You can order from the bar or from the waiters who patrol the area. There is also waiter service at the beach for alcoholic beverages.
The beach is the “Best” I’ve seen anywhere!! The powder white sand is smooth to the touch and feels wonderful as it slides between your toes. There is an abundance of foliage for shade and plenty of lounge chairs to go around. The water is a beautiful aqua blue; it is cool enough to refresh you and warm enough to walk right into. The waves range from gentle to giant depending on the tide. You can definitely use a “boogie board”, however, you may have some trouble trying to lay quietly on a “air mattress”. My wife and I enjoyed jumping waves hours on end. For parents with children, there is a lot of topless sunbathing (most I’ve seen) on the beach and some also at the pool.
Like most “AI” resorts, there are plenty of water sports available, sailing, paddleboats, kayaks etc. You can pay extra for parasailing, scuba, banana boat et al. There are pool tables, slot machines, and air hockey in the “Sports Bar” along with “packaged snacks” (hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches etc.) if you get hungry late at night. There is also a casino and a disco on the complex (comprised of 5 resorts of which you have full access) accessible by shuttles leaving every 30 minutes. After jumping waves all day, I didn’t make it to either one!
The bottom line is, if you (like me) are looking for a “Great Beach”, “Strong Drinks”, “Great Food”, a “Extremely Comfortable Room”, and “Great Service”, the “Riu Palace Punta Cana” will provide that and much, much more.

  • Liked — clean, friendly staff, pool bar, great beach
  • Disliked — no bottled water
  • Tips/Secrets — tips go a long way!
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
1 review
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2006

I just got back yesterday and couldnt wait to post my review of this place after reading others for the past 3 months. I stayed here Sept 14 thru Sept 21. My room number was 2153. This has been my 3rd all inclusive vacation. Others were Iberostar Punta Cana and Barcelo Riviera Maya. I have vacationed alot in the past but usually rent condos or houses in Florida. Also I am single and travel alone.

First I want to say, some posts here suggest that Europeans are rude. I am from the U.S. and I think rude people come from all countries. I do not discriminate.

I used Gogo tours. All transfers were very smooth with no problems. They used Mercedes vans that were very nice. Pulling up to the resort, it is very impressive. At check in there was no line and immediate. I asked for a top floor room and got the 3rd floor. 4 is the top. Next I inquired about the phone card that you could buy in the lobby and use on the lobby phone. They said they dont do that anymore. They offered me to use a booth next to the front desk and charged 2.50 per minute. I made 2 short calls back to the US costing 6.00. I thought that was fair. Next they brought me to my room. It was extraordinary and very clean. Nice furniture and marble. Probably one of the nicest hotel rooms I have ever had. However, I was toward the front of the hotel, close to the lobby, and had to really look hard to the right to see the water. Below was a access path that was made out of bricks that constantly carried employees with carts to and from the resort making noise. TV worked well with many channels in English. Nice jetted tub with shower and two sinks. Mini bar was stocked but the fridge in the room does not get cold. I iced down one of the sinks for cold beer. I did like the Brahma beer they had. Its a pilsner and is good when ice cold. Also one of the chairs on the balcony kept coming apart. The arm kept coming out of the socket. I used the other one. I did notice the hard beds. However the sheets pillows and blankets were wonderful!

My biggest problem with this place is there is no way to lock the front door to keep out the maids or drink re-stockers. The 1st night I was there I used the "do not disturb" sign and kept it on the door thru the next morning. I had breakfast and then went to the orientation with the Gogo tour guy. Came back to the room and got ready for the beach. I guess the maid didnt like the fact that I had the sign on the door the whole morning. Because, when they cleaned the room that morning she took the sign and left another "clean room as soon as possible" sign. Why would I need two of these??? The next morning I got up and to the beach early. I left a note for the maid to replace the do not disturb sign. She did not. After the day was over I came back to my room and my note was gone but there were still 2 clean room signs hanging on the door. I didnt do anything more about it that evening. The next morning at about 9 am, I was asleep and the maid knocked on the door. I said go away but she came right in and said HOLA, Oh your sleeping. DUH... Well after that I got up and took a shower. I was wearing a towel getting clothes to put on and then the drink re-stocker decides to come in.. I told him to go away. He asked "dont you want me to re-stock your fridge?" I said no and thought, not while I was naked. After going to the beach and getting back to the room, it had been cleaned but the fridge didnt get re-stocked. I went to the front desk that evening and requested I get the propper sign to hang on the door! They had one there after I got back from dinner. Also the next day, the re-stocker guy only left me 2 beers. I guess he didnt like me telling him to go away.

That was the only time they came in on me but I used my sign continuously. That doesnt keep them from yelling at each other outside your door waking you up at early hours. They could be quieter and not yell and slam doors at 9 am. After a late night, you want to sleep in, This is vacation right?

OK, enough of that, let me go back to some of the positives. The beach is one of the best I have ever been to. I like the shipwreck off the coast in front of the resort. The sand is nice with plenty of shade or sun whatever you prefer at the moment. I had nice weather every day with a little rain a couple of nights. The food for dinner at the buffet was pretty good. I did not like wearing long pants for dinner. If you went out walking at night afterwards, you would get pretty sweaty wearing them. I could not wait to put shorts back on after I ate. I tried to eat healthy, fish, veggies, etc. Breakfast was needing a little help though. The dishes of scrambled eggs were more like soup. Sometimes the bacon looked like it was still moving. I like mine cooked! I like hash browns for breakfast, not french fries. But I didnt really come here to gorge myself... I really enjoyed the sports bar. I did not pay the 3 dollars that it cost to play pool. I guess if it was free, nobody would get to play it would be too busy. Also one night I got there and ordered a margarita. very yummy... but when the bartender asked me if I wanted another, I sad no and switched to beer. I about fell off my stool when she took the lime from my used glass and put it back in the container where it came from!!! WOW! I didnt lick it so I guess it was OK. LOL! I did not try the 24 hour snacks that were in the fridge. Was too scared. I did try the slots in there for 20 bucks. They dont seem to pay out much but I was not suprised. Note, I was just in Vegas 2 months ago.

The first time I went to the pool, I burnt my feet walking to it. I figured out after that to wear flip-flops to the edge and then get in. It was too warm. I only used it only a little. I like the beach much better. Which brings me to another problem. I used a cooler cup at the beach to keep my beverage cold and plentiful. That was nice and worked well the first four days. The 5th day I went down and asked the pool bartender to fill it with diet pepsi, He looked at me and said "the problem with that is, we have people who deliver diet pepsi to you on the beach." I said it had not been a problem until now?? He proceeded to go ahead and fill my cup. Then said "salute". I made it to my beach chair to find he filled it with orange drink. It was OK but HE knew what I wanted! I thought this place is all inclusive? Can they not spare a cup of soda? I guess not since they recycle the limes!

Let me add that most of the people working her were very nice. I even tipped some of them. Just a couple of them took me off guard... I did not do any excursions off the resort. I figured I had payed enough to stay there. I did catch the Michael Jackson show at the Macao next door. That was good. The other shows I seen were back at my resort. They were good with the guests being participents. That was funny and made me laugh. However, one of the shows, they lip-sinked the whole thing. I did not make it till the end... pretty bad.

Something definatly worth seeing, is the view down the beach to the north. Its a good walk but well worth it! Take a left out of the resort and go until the bend in the beach. I just wanted to see what was on the other side. I made the mistake of not bringing a camera... very breathtaking with the mountains in the background!

I did buy a t-shirt in one of the shops for 10 dollars... thought that was a good deal. I did not try any of the ala cart restaurants. I wish I had but didnt want to deal with the wait that morning or have any schedule to meet. I was pleased with the dinner buffet anyway.

OK, on to leaving now. Yesterday morning when packing my suitcase, I noticed someone had broken the strap on top that carries another attached bag... This could have been American Airlines, but I did not notice it picking it up at the airport. The bus driver took it from me and gave it to the bellman at the resort. The bellman brought it to my room and put it on the shelf and it stayed there the whole time. Oh-well. This was only the second time I had used this suitcase, it was new! They obviously picked it up with the strap instead of using the handles. The plastic buckle broke and you know whoever done it knew they did it! Of course, they are not going to let you know.

When leaving I let the other bellman take my bag to store until my ride arrived. I only had a 30 minute wait. He may have rolled it a total of 20 feet for me but looked very dissatisfied when I didnt give him a tip! Also when I turned in my keys and pool card, the person at the desk just said "its OK". They could have said "thank you"???

Needless to say, I will probably go back to renting condos and houses in Florida.... I hope this post helps! P.S. The flight to and from Miami offers some very good views of the bahamas.. I took pictures from the plane on the way back!

  • Liked — Beach
  • Disliked — Door doesnt lock from the inside
  • Tips/Secrets — Walk up the beach and check out the view to the north
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 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.
Maryland
1 review
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
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)
Was this review helpful? Yes 26
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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#23 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#42 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#47 On the Beach 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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