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!)
- 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