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“Perfect Vacation!” 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 #51 of 100 Hotels in Punta Cana
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Perfect Vacation!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2006

I don't know about those bad reviews - I have mainly positive things to say about the RIU Palace. We stayed from Sept 30 - October 7, 2006.

I'll start with the bad news first.

- La Bodega a la carte restaurant left a sour taste in my mouth. Everything was so greasy and cooked in pork fat...gross! The only thing I did like there was the bacon-wrapped bananas - interesting flavours but awesome!
- I agree that the resort shuts down at midnight. This is not the resort if you're looking for nightlife. After midnight, you can always go to the local club La Pacha. I didn't go but people we met enjoyed dancing into the wee hours of the night.
- The resort itself is so enormous but I feel it's missing the Caribbean feeling. It's a lot of concrete. The landscaping is not like the other RIU's in the area.

OK now the great stuff...

- Food was excellent. I did prefer the buffet over the a la carte restaurants. A lot of variety. One review states that pop was rationed like champagne. Our waiter, Pedro, always asked us if we wanted an extra bottle for the room. We always tipped only 1 dollar at buffet - most people don't.
- Beach spectacular but I still can't decide if the shipwreck off the coast is nice or an eyesore - verdict is still out on that one.
- Rooms clean, maids do an excellent job, bathroom beautiful with marble/granite, double sink, always plenty of clean towels. We tipped the maid a dollar a day as well.
- Pools were warm but what do you expect when the sun is beating down on it daily? It was still refreshing after sitting or walking out in the sun. Bartenders at the pool bar were always happy even though they were in long black pants in the heat. I didn't find the humidity bad at all - not compared to what is in Toronto.
- Lobby - gorgeous sitting areas, furniture, mirrors, paintings - just wonderful.
- 24 hour sportsbar, hamburgers/hotdogs, sandwiches, fruit, and popcorn available all the time. Tried the hotdog, it was good. They even had Heinz ketchup and mustard packs.
- Tour - we did the Caribbean Festival. Was awesome! Went snorkelling with fish, nurse sharks, and sting rays!!!!

Overall a good time but not for people looking for booming nightlife. For that I recommend the RIU Bambu or some of the others in the area. No mosquitoes or weird bugs.

I would definitely return. Forget those bad reviews, some people expect the impossible and will never be happy!

Someone tell Pedro at Don Manual "Dos Pesi por favor!"

(pictures to follow as soon as I stop procrastinating!)


Stayed September 2006
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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Maryland
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2006

All I can tell you it is an execellent place, the food, the service, the room. Riu Palace Punta Cana the place to be.

Just go.

  • Stayed October 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
British Expats in the Dominican Republic
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2006

My husband and I had just returned from Riu. We spant 5 days there; from the 5th to the 9th of October 2006. We live in Dominican Republic, in its capital Santo Domingo. We are expats for a British water company in the DR.
The Riu hotel is very new, just opened in April 2006. When we arrived, the staff at the front desk was pleasant; we signed the papers and got our key plus the safe's lock. The checking-in was quick; there was not a problem.
The room (Junior suite) was nice and tidy, with the maid's craft (towels made into 'swans' - which were 'crafted' daily). We had a balcony overlooking the fountains. The whole place is so beautiful and grand.
The pools are nice too; there are two, plus a small pool away from the others, in the kiddies play area. I like the round pool where the water flows on the sides of the marble walls. Magnificent!
The beach was very inviting, to say the least. The were plenty of space if you want to be away from other guests. Nonetheless, don't be offended by the topless women in all different shapes and sizes; it seemed normal all along the beach. The staffs in the hotel were superb! There were friendly and always willing to help. Top class for top service. The food is good too. Plenty of choice to choose from. Yokohama restaurant and La Altagracia are recommended. The nightly shows were less than average; but it kept us laughing all night everynight so it can't be too bad. Although I must say, Michael Jackson's show was pretty imaginative.
This is a place to go, overall service and accomodation are very good indeed. Please don't believe the negatives about this place. Communication with the staffs is the key. Just tell them what you need, they will do it for you, as quick as they can. We are certainly going back. Enjoy Riu Palace!

  • Liked — cleanliness, spacious, superb views
  • Disliked — the shampoo/soap dispenser
  • Tips/Secrets — bring your own shower gel, shampoo or soap. Also cotton buds
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
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.
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#23 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#43 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#45 Family 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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